Greetings once again from beautiful Nicaragua. We woke early and packed our bags to check out of Hotel Cafe in time for a training of baristas in Jinotega. Though the city is known for its misty weather, which we experienced when we arrived on Tuesday, today was bright and sunny from start to finish. We headed to Soppexcca, the incredible association of cooperatives of small-scale coffee producers. This particular location hit close to home for me and Ken, as our friend Francisco Javier worked there as a master cupper for a long time before moving to Portland to continue his coffee education with Stumptown.
Javier, if you are reading this, Fatima and Claudia say hello and they miss you very much! Fifteen baristas from Jinotega arrived for their training with the Nordic baristas, and the experience was more than anyone could have imagined. The baristas were so eager to learn from the Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic baristas on hand to show them the ropes.
In the photo above, Petra of Finland explains determining the correct density of pucks. Below, Icelandic champion, Imma, answers questions from her students. I found it especially funny when Hanne, of Norway, commented after the training that it was so nice to train baristas who were glued to her every word. She said she appreciated that she didn’t have to ask anyone to turn off their phone or get the off of Facebook. We were also treated to a cupping of various copffees from the 15 cooperatives in the Soppexcca organization.
After that, we packed up and left Jinotega, taking the Pan American Highway to Ocotal, three hours away.The scenery was magnificent — both inside and outside of the car… this is what happens when baristas are trapped in the car for too long:
Yes, that’s Per of da Matteo in Sweden wearing Imma’s pink unicorn sweatshirt.
We checked into our hotel in Ocotal and could not be dissuaded from taking a quick dip in the pool.
We piled back into our vans and headed for Finca Argentina, 30 minutes outside of the city of Ocotal, where we met Maria and Julio and were treated to a tour of their stunning wet mill, and a party with the pickers and their families. More was to come, but we’ll continue the tale in the next post…