In 2016, we connected twelve smallholder farmers from Jinotega and Nueva Segovia to European roasters through our one-on-one matching program. This year, we are filled with pride to see them continuing to connect and trade with each other. We were all impressed by the painstaking production adjustments by the farmers, our friend Francisco's careful agronomic assistance and his company Expocamo's very rare raised bed drying design (73% shade and constant air flow). Although the company is only three years old, an international reputation of ensuring cleanness, very long shelf life, and taste reliability is definitely developing.
In the 2017 season, because the word in Northern Nicaragua is out about Francisco's ethical trade practices, quality education and the direct connections we facilitate with roasters, more farmers flocked under Expocamo's wing (a first, fifth and seventh place in the 2017 Cup of Excellence doesn't harm Francisco's reputation either). As a result, next to our trusted farmers from 2016, who have again gone through amazing lengths to upgrade their coffees, we have expanded our offer significantly and matched even more roasters with growers, while also retaining some stock for latecomers.
These are the farmers we supported in the 2017 harvest.
Click on the images to see a full farmer profile on Expocamo's website.
Finca La Union
Finca La Quemada
Finca La Illusión
Finca San Isidro
Finca La Providencia
Finca La Orquidea
Finca Las Minas
Finca Cima del Cielo
Finca El Diamante
A mix of Caturra, Paca, Red Catuaí, Java and Catimor, as well as special Maragogype and Maracaturra lots, depending on the farm.
1,100 - 1,500 meters above sea level
Coffees from all our partner farmers have been upgraded, dried, milled and graded by Expocamo. Our microlots are linked with roasters who have the opportunity to guide the farmers' quality upgrades in subsequent seasons. This Side Up's quality premium spent in full on extra farmer income.
2016: launched our roaster-farmer connection programme and created links with roasters in seven countries in Europe.
2017: more than doubled our roaster base, created tailor-made pre-harvest lots for connected roasters, first natural, triple A and single variety lots, 1st, 5th and 7th place in the Cup of Excellence, partnered with many new producers.
2018: extended partner farmer base to six more farmers, created single variety java lots, created two customised mid-range blends based on last year's Flor Silvestre regional blend.
Only optimal ripe cherries are picked, depulped and then put into fermentation tanks for about 14-20 hours depending on how rainy or sunny it is. It then goes to the washing channel where it is soaked with clean water until it is 100% clean. Immediately after, the wet parchment goes to Beneficio La Guadalupana in Ocotal to dry on raised beds and 100% shaded. The drying process takes about 12-18 days depending on the weather.
Relative PRICE BREAKDOWN:
The percentage of the sales price that Expocamo pays the farmers for their wet parchment. In most cases, this means they receive more than 100% over the market price (!).
Total costs of drying and dry processing the coffee owed to Expocamo. Founder Francisco is known in the region for his coffee quality expertise and ensures that wet parchment from his partner farmers is dried to perfection on his raised beds, and processed / sorted / graded in state of the art equipment before exporting.
The approximate total shipping costs and fees from Ocotal, Nicaragua to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This year we made a 2% scale advantage compared to last year.
This Side Up expense coverage. Expenses include wages, sending samples, travel and various office costs.
Francisco's lots Expected
SHG El Paraíso regional blend: €5,50
SHG Flor Silvestre regional blend: €5,50
AA single farm matching program lots : € 7,75 p/kg
Java single variety lots : €8,75 p/kg
Recommended Ikawa profile
We found that for this harvest, the fruits of the SHG and AA lots, as well as the subtle florals of the Java can be best discovered with our TSU Washed 2 profile, a tweaked version of one of Tim Wendelboe's profiles. Just enough of the chocolate undertones develop while the red fruits and florals show the best versions of themselves. Cut the roast short if it passes 25% DTR.
"orange, sweet, almond, syrupy, tropical fruit, pineapple, sparkling apple juice."
Belle Montanus (on 2018 Siles Java lot), Bocca Coffee Roasters
"We can taste distinct honey-like sweetness, rich dark chocolaty body and ripe cherry acidity. Full and sweet."
Peter Dvorsky (on 2016 Santa Martha AA), Concept Coffee Roasters
Francisco Javier Valle Garcia is the CEO at Expocamo and the exporter and quality educator of all our partner farmers' coffees. If you want to get in touch with these farmers, the best way is to get in touch with him or with Bram de Hoog, Expocamo's marketing director and a good friend of This Side Up. Both will gladly assist you for calls in Spanish, cooperation possibilities and of course - visits!
EXPORTER Francisco Javier Valle Garcia
MARKETING Bram de Hoog
EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
TEL +505 87129703
Expocamo S.A.- Barrio Teodoro Lopez, de donde fue el Ranchon 1c a. Oeste 1c. al Sur. Ocotal
One day, a partner roaster named Roger Wittwer introduced us to his direct trade partner Francisco. He needed help importing Nicaraguan specialty coffees to Europe, and Roger thought we could be a match. We began talking regularly and I learned about Francisco’s crazy level of experience.
Starting off on his coffee journey as a boy on his father’s farm, Francisco’s talent and drive found him cupping for the national Cup of Excellence competition already at age 18. He then moved to the States to become a roaster at Stumptown, worked on the side of export for a while and finally started Expocamo, a company aimed at developing and exporting only the coffees of farmers that he calls his friends.
Roger was right, this was a match. We later learned that Francisco is a man who farmers love to work with - his loyalty and tireless work to expand farmers' knowledge of coffee quality is famous in the region. Through our partnership, he is learning from European roasters and seeing how his coffees are perceived this side of the Atlantic.