Luis Alberto Balladarez is considered a legend in coffee farming in northern Nicaragua. Highly regarded among his peers and colleagues, he has been described as “brilliant, genius, and a coffee master.” While several millers and exporters are established in Nueva Segovia’s main city Ocotal, Luis Alberto clearly stands out for his focus on specialty coffees and microlots. One of the things that makes Luis Alberto unique among mill owners is that he owns and manages several of his own farms. The success that he has had with these farms is one of the reasons so many other farmers trust him to process their coffees. Luis Alberto knows quality and is obsessed with every detail in each step his coffee takes from the nursery through the dry mill.
Finca Un Regalo de Dios is Luis Alberto’s pride and joy. The farm is located in a lush pocket of forest protected on three sides by high mountains in the otherwise dry area of Mozonte. The farm is divided into several plantíos based on altitude. As the popularity of his coffees increases, Luis Alberto is separating pickings even more specifically. Multiple lots from the same plantío harvested and processed on the same day may have subtle variations that might make them better suited to Pulped Natural or Full Natural processing rather than conventional washing.
The Java variety is a selection from the Ethiopian landrace Abyssinia. It was directly introduced to the island of Java by the Dutch in the early 19th century, and introduced to Central America in 1991. This variety typically displays high cup quality, similar to the famed Geisha, but is a more resilient plant in regards to coffee leaf rust and coffee berry disease. The seeds are oblong in shape, giving them the nickname “long-beans.”
Farmers in Nicaragua had a tough year, and Luis Alberto’s total harvest was down by about 50%. Nevertheless, his quality remains outstanding, and we are super stoked to have purchased this unique and incredibly delicious coffee. Luis Alberto took 3rd place this year in Nicaragua’s prestigious Cup of Excellence, truly a commendable achievement!
Suggested Brew Method: Chemex
Heat your water to 205 F. Grind 21g of coffee at a medium-coarse setting. Pour 40g and bloom for 1 minute. Pour to a starting slurry of 200g. Once you finish the slurry, pour 50g every 10s until 350g total. Total brew time should be 4-5 minutes.