Nicaraguan Selva Negra coffee is cultivated in the most ecologically sustainable and socially responsible way possible. Learn more by reading our Selva Negra Grower Profile.
Selva Negra’s history is in many ways the history of the coffee in Nicaragua altogether. In the 1880’s the Nicaraguan government invited young German immigrants to come and settle in Nicaragua in order to promote coffee growing in the northern highlands. Many accepted the offer, thus forming the main coffee plantations of the country; some estates bear names of their motherlands. Selva Negra means Black Forest, and the coffee estate is called La Hammonia, Latin for Hamburg. Located approximately 4,000 ft. above sea level, La Hammonia has been producing fine old style Arabica coffee for over 100 years. Eddy Kühl & Mausi Kühl-Hayn, the farm’s proprietors are descendants of two of these original German immigrants – Alberto Vogl and Klaus KÜhl.
Selva Negra Estate Coffee is grown at a high altitude in a shaded environment. This allows the bean to have a slow development cycle which instills an intense and fulfilling flavor to each bean. The coffee is not only 100% Arabica, but more importantly it is mostly Bourbon and Typica strains (which produce higher quality beans than other varieties of coffee trees). The region of Matagalpa, Nicaragua is mountainous with excellent volcanic soil producing exceptional beans. Finally, the coffee is prepared using an environmentally friendly washing process, which gives the coffee still one more unique quality enhancing aspect.
A very cool cup – best at the light to medium roast points but tasty from light to dark. The cup is full of more fruit forward tones, strawberry/stone-fruit like, with some nice and crisp acidity (floral/lemon), balanced with a nutty/malty dark tone. As one pushes more into the medium to borderline dark roasts, the acidity is muted up and that classic malty profile comes out in the cup with just a bit of red fruit accent, will appeal more to those lower acidity fans, or those who traditionally prefer washed processed coffees. Folks who are not into over the overly fruity and acidic cups. Darker roasts were good, but our least favorite. Pretty bittersweet and edgy, the smokiness did compliment the more malty cup characteristics and one still could see some fruitiness as the cup cools, but far less wild and defined.
A little more challenging to roast but luckily tastes pretty good no matter where you roast it to. Error lighter than darker when playing around. Although this cup tastes like a nice Ethiopian natural, it will roast much more two toned. When shooting for a nice light roast, judge it by the lighter shades of beans, make sure they get through first crack then cool it out. A speckled roast is normal, you will see 2-3 shades of beans when done roasting, this coffee is produced to give those results.
Selva Negra means Black Forest – beyond the coffee trees below you can see why.
A great example of a good looking production tree and how the fruit ripens at different times – this is what makes hand picking so necessary for good coffee.
After a hard day of picking…
Finally the reception – every afternoon of picking all the workers gather for the cherry reception – this is where the work for the day will be logged and the start of the processing for the cherry. Normally workers get paid by volume but many farms bonus on quality – too many damaged/under-ripe beans in the pick is bad for everyone
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