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.

This year, 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 are flocking under Expocamo's wing (a first, fifth and seventh place in the 2017 Cup of Excellence doesn't harm his 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. Don't miss out on the new naturals, Triple A lots and single varieties this year!

The Coffee

Expocamo's partner farmers incentivise farm workers to pick only optimal ripe cherries. These are then depulped and then put into fermentation tanks for about 14-20 hours depending on the rain and sun. The coffee then goes into the washing channel where it is soaked with clean water. Immediately after, the wet parchment goes to Beneficio La Guadalupana in Ocotal to dry by mainly by airflow on raised beds that are 73% shaded. The drying process takes about 12-18 days depending on the weather. 


Roaster Testimonies

"We can taste distinct honey-like sweetness, rich dark chocolaty body and ripe cherry acidity. Full and sweet."

- Peter Dvorsky, Concept Coffee Roasters


"Perfectly clean, nice molasses and fudge notes and some good florals"

- Matt Butter, Sundlaug Coffee Co

Recommended Ikawa profile

We found that for the 2017 harvest, the enhanced fruitiness of the coffees can be best discovered with a shorter profile with a hotter drop temperature. The cherry and molasses acidities sparkle while still noticing the smooth mouthfeel and chocolaty undertones. 

The Price and Value Chain

Our Nicaraguan chain looks slightly different because the drying of the coffee is done centrally. Expocamo picks up the wet parchment from the farms and takes utmost care to attain uniform and shaded drying. This ensures a much longer shelf life and in the long run, better prices to the farmers.


The percentage of the sales price that Expocamo pays the farmers for their wet parchment. This is more than double the price they would get from the open market. 


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 Matagalpa, Nicaragua to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This year we made a 2% scale advantage compared to last year.


This Side Up expense coverage. Our costs include sending samples and representation in Europe.

The Story

Key Achievements:
2016: launched our roaster-farmer connection programme and created links with roasters in seven countries in Europe.
2017: 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.

One day, a partner roaster named Roger Wittwer introduced me to his 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 the coffees of farmers that he calls his friends, to traders and roasters he also calls friends. His brand of trust-based trade was exactly as This Side Up always looks for in partners.

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. We started working together and connected Expocamo to many European roasters in 2016 through consignment sales. In 2017 we took on more relationships with growers and more than doubled our demand from European roasters - it seems there is a definite match between the passion of these two worlds!

Contact Expocamo

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


TEL +505 87129703




Expocamo S.A.- Barrio Teodoro Lopez, de donde fue el Ranchon 1c a. Oeste 1c. al Sur. Ocotal