El Recreo or “Recess” is a unique place that you can only truly experience in person. The farm belongs to the Ferrey family purchased around 50 years ago and unfortunately, the family has had to completely re-build the farm three times due to the political and military instability of Nicaragua. Every time they have had to reconstruct the farm, they used coffee as the main crop. Most recently around 28 years ago they used Catuaí and Caturra as their main variety.
In 2013 they had to convert most of the farm into other varieties due to the most recent leaf rust crisis in Central America. It was during this replanting of the farm that the Ferrey family started cultivating Maracatura, Pacamara and other hybrids. They chose these hybrid varietals mostly due to their resistance to leaf rust but also for their high productivity and quality in the cup.
Carlos Ferrey was responsible for the management of the farm until 3 years ago when he began to phase out and pass on responsibilities to the new generation allowing his son Jorge to become the head of the agronomical part of the farm. Jorge is an educated doctor and sees the farm’s future in specialty coffee. He believes that quality is the future of coffee and that El Recreo can play a role in the microlot movement happening in Nicaragua due to the precise agronomical management the farm delivers to the coffee during the entire production cycle of the coffee.
Ileana, Carlos’s wife is the head of the social responsibility programs of the farm. She manages a school in the farm that teaches the new generation about coffee production from processing to market effects and commercialization. They also have a cupping course in order to teach the younger producers how to distinguish quality and differentiate cup characteristics from the different type of processes that can be done in a wet mill.
Citrus, Tropical Fruit, Chocolate
Judging hybrid ripeness by color can be challenging. The deep red color of the cherries, make it difficult to know when to pick, however this is the exact reason the farm uses Brix measures to decide the best moment to pick and process.
For their honeys, the Ferrey’s begin with 100% handpicked fully ripe cherry with a brix (sugar content) measure of 23 to 25. After cherries are selected, they are pulped using a Penagos system. From here, the coffees are taken directly to covered patios where the coffee is allowed to ferment for 12 hours unmoved. After the initial 12 hours, the coffee is then moved and rotated every 30 minutes until dried. This process creates a “Turon” which is when honey processed coffees create masses/clumps due to all of the residual sugars left on the outside of the parchment. Once this is achieved, the Ferries must transport their coffee to the dry mill in Sebaco to finish drying to sub 12% moisture since conditions at the farm are too humid to achieve perfect final drying.
Yali, Jinotega, Nicaragua
Jinotega is the main city of the department of the same name. The main economic activity of the region is coffee producing around 70 to 80% of the Nicaragua harvest. The main landmark is the artificial lake of Apanas that supplies water to Planta Centro América and the mountain of Datanlí El Diablo that is a natural reserve of the region. Jinotega is locally known as the city of mists (Ciudad de las Brumas). The entire valley is between 900 and 1100 meters above sea level, but its high moisture due to the lake influence and mountains around the valley lower the average temperature, making it ideal for coffee.
New in 2019
The Ferrey family purchased a new Penagos wet mill system and also renewed their parabolic covered drying bed in order to enhance cup quality. They are also beginning to select specific varieties and keep lots separate in order to differentiate between microlot flavor profiles and conventional production.