Farmer: Jimenez Brothers
Preparation: washed / dried on raised beds
Elevation: 1400 meters
Our Use: 20-30 bags
We first found El Barril through a new importer, Caravela who had invited us to a cupping at MadCap Coffee during the Cup of Excellence in 2015. The cupping was of coffees exclusively from Nicaragua, around 15 different farms total, and there were seven or eight different buyers represented. Through our cupping, El Barril was the consensus as favorite, so Caravela went to purchase at auction. Our initial share from that auction was 300 pds that we sold through 8oz jars around the holidays.
After the first year, Caravela asked if we wanted to purchase directly so we went to go visit their farm and a number of others in Nicaragua. When we arrived, it was surprising to find their farm in the midst of a pine forest. The shade, combined with the high elevation led to much cooler temperatures that gives the coffee fruit more time to develop and gives the coffee a sweeter tone. Over the five-day trip, we blindly tasted coffees from over 120 different farms, but El Barril still scored the highest.
The farm was very impressive too. Enjoying high prices from their 2015 Cup of Excellence win, the three Jimenez brothers and their sister who ran the farm had invested the profits back into their operation. The farm had brand new wet fermentation equipment, as well as equipment for depulping the fruit. It also struck us how clean everything was, which is a critical step.
El Barril is a Maragotora bean, a hybrid of Maragogype with Catora, giving it a strong flavor and citrus edge.