The Café Deigo produced at Finaca El Dorado farm is a micro-lot, specialty grade, organic coffee.
It is grown at an altitude of 5500 feet above sea level on a 740 acre plot in the Matagalpa Highlands.
Creamy body; clean, sweet,citric acidity with a caramel sweetness; smooth and aromatic.
Name: Café Diego
Farmer: Diego Chavarria
Farm: Finca El Dorado
Diego Chavarria is a Nicaraguan native that returned to his homeland after fleeing the 1980’s conflict between the Contras and the Sandinistas. He took over the family farm created by his grandfather in a rural part of Nicaragua. By hand he and his family planted over 1500 tree per acre on the 400 acres of prime coffee ground.
Diego worked hard, but it was not enough. During the global coffee crisis of the early 2000’s, Diego began to accrue debt to the bank just to operate the farm and pay the workers. The cost of coffee on the world market was so low that he had to sell his coffee at a loss. The debt soared to over one million dollars before the bank seized ownership of the farm and Diego went from land owner to care taker.
In 2004, Chavarria met Paul Kurtz who was in Nicaragua on a mission trip. Paul lived in Mechanicsburg, Ohio where he ran a coffee shop. Paul had been studying the coffee trade and realized that the system was fundamentally broken. The farmers and workers made less than they needed to survive while the large coffee companies sold the coffee for many times more than they paid for it.
Paul began to develop a plan to buy green beans directly from the farmer in a practice now known as direct trade. Direct trade is where a farmer sells direct instead of selling the beans on the open commodity market. This provides better profit margins for the farmer who, in turn, can pay higher wages and better maintain his farm.
In 2007 Paul Kurtz purchased his first container from Diego containing 40,000 pounds of green coffee. Keeping costs low, Kurtz was able to pay Diego almost double the going rate of coffee on the open market.
Today, Café Diego is a thriving farm that employs over 300 workers during the harvest season and over 100 workers year round. Diego pays his workers above the minimum wage for coffee pickers and helps provide them with a balanced diet and education. With the profits, he also supports and starts churches throughout Nicaragua.
Chavarria and his wife have four daughters and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Many of these work with Chavarria on the farm.
The Café Deigo produced at Finaca El Dorado farm is a micro-lot, specialty grade, organic coffee. It is grown at an altitude of 5500 feet above sea level on a 740 acre plot in the Matagalpa Highlands. No chemicals are used in growing the coffee. “We don’t use pesticides; chemicals are bad for us if we use them and bad for the people who drink our coffee,” said Chavarria. This means a lot of work. But a properly cared for tree will live and produce for 20-25 years and produce about one and a half pounds of beans per tree each year. These beans are picked, processed, and sorted by hand. Only the best make it to market.
Nearby is the city of Matagalpa which is the capital of the department of Matagalpa. The city has a population of 200,000 people making it Nicaragua’s fourth largest city.
Gold was discovered around Matagalpa in the 1840’s. This attracted immigrants from Spain, Germany, Britain, and America. Two of the better known immigrants of that time period were Ledwig Elster and his wife Katharina Braun from Germany. They are credited with planting the first coffee trees in the region. Coffee agriculture grew quickly and attracted many European immigrants. Many of these immigrants married Matagalpa woman and their descendants still live in the region.