Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Coffee Reunion

During spring break, I returned to Nicaragua to celebrate ten years of travel courses that have connected Bridgewater State University with the coffeelands of Matagalpa and Jinotega. Our group of eleven included current students, community members, and one alumnus for whom the 2010 travel course has proven especially meaningful.
Freddy Membreño of Matagalpa Tours joins Byron Corrales, myself, and Sara Corrales in commemorating ten years of BSU programs in Nicaragua. We prepared a special coffee press to mark the occasion!
Since graduating from BSU, Sullivan Cohen has become a bit of a coffee rock star, and was eager to join our reunion tour. For him, the highlight was a return to Finca Los Pinos (The Pines Farm), where he remembers having his first cup of "real" coffee. It was a moment that changed his life.
This video begins and ends with some joking around, but in between, world-class coffee producer Byron Corrales summarizes the lessons he shared during an entire morning spent exploring the farm. The audio quality from my little camera is not great, but it is worth listening to Byron's description of all the connections in a cup of coffee, and the translation by our excellent guide Marlon Rivera.
Byron is famous for producing some of the best coffee on the planet: he has placed 1st and 2nd in worldwide cupping events and continues to improve his practices. He is also famous for the care he gives his coffee compost, which extends to the management of the diet of cattle who live at Los Pinos primarily to provide manure for the coffee. His continual improvement means that he goats -- which have an important role in the origin myths of coffee -- are now part of the production cycle.


Since Nicaragua is a nation of poets, it is perhaps not surprising that these goats are routinely serenaded as they eat. Everything is connected.

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