Las Segovias is a washing station and dry mill in Ocotal, Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua. Luis Alberto Ballardez is Las Segovia’s owner/operator, an industry veteran with deep and widespread connections to coffee producers throughout northern Nicaragua.
Although Las Segovias processes many coffees that turn into single-farm micro-lots, they also receive a significant amount of coffee from producers who do not yield quite enough to form their own lot, or from much larger producers who need a market for coffees that don’t cup quite well enough to fetch higher price points. In order to work with both of these categories of coffee farmers year after year, Luis and his team collaborate with Atlas, one of our importing partners, to put together a blend that they refer to as Las Segovias Especial. In Atlas’s own words, the target flavour profile for Las Segovias Especial is characterized by “green apple, pear, sugar cane, toffee, browned sugars, and a lightly syrupy body.” When we had a chance to taste a sample earlier this year, we felt that this description rang true, perfectly suiting this coffee for a high-sweetness and low-acidity option on our menu, and making for a wonderful fall/winter backbone to our seasonal blend, as well.
The producers for Las Segovias Especial vary from year to year, but the goal remains the same - a delicious and traceable offering, greater than the sum of its parts. This year’s selection comes from just two farms, and is mostly composed of the Caturra variety, grown 1,000 - 1,300 meters above sea level.
In addition to tasting lovely and providing an outlet for coffees that may otherwise be tricky to sell, we are also proud of this purchase because it is a part of Atlas’s Sustainable Price Assurance program. Though we expect a level of compensation transparency for all of our purchases, Sustainable Price Assurance goes a bit further. To confirm that the price paid for coffee is truly sustainable, there must also be a degree of confidence in the cost of production, a deceptively complex metric to confirm. So far, Atlas has three exporting partners who are able to deliver sufficient data about the cost of sustainable production in order to qualify for the Sustainable Price Assurance program, one of which is Las Segovias.