Selva Negra Coffee Estate
Welcome to La Hammonia Farm, growers of Selva Negra Estate Coffee, located in the highlands of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. We are proud to offer you a top quality organic, rainforest alliance certified coffee. You will find, by reviewing this website, some amazing information on the extraordinary effort we go through to ensure you receive that high quality cup of coffee that you can be proud of consuming and thereby being a supporting part of our many social and environmental efforts. Visit the Selva Negra Coffee from seed to cup link to see the entire life of our coffee from the nursery to export and beyond.
We are continually improving our processes and searching for the most ecological means of producing our coffee as well as improving the quality of life for all who live here. Visit the sustainable efforts link to review the many sustainable efforts that make our farm an incredible case study of sustainability and ecological possibilities.
We live at our farm, and therefore we ensure that it is an absolutely wonderful place to be. We extent to you and your friends a heartfelt invitation to the coffee estate. You wont believe it, until you see it.
A Brief History of Coffee in Central America
Coffee was shipped from overseas as an ornamental plant as early as 1750 to Guatemala by Jesuit Fathers. Commercial production did not start until the early 1800's in Guatemala and Costa Rica. While El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras started in the second half of the 19th Century.
German immigrants to Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica were the ones responsible for the industrialization that initiated the production, processing, and commercialization of coffee in these countries. The Germans were followed by local growers, as well as other Europeans and North Americans, who were attracted by the countries' policies of donating lands to immigrants who would dedicate the land to coffee production. Most of these immigrants married local girls, raised their families there.
Germans and British shipped their coffee by the ports in the Pacific Ocean, going to Cape Horn in South American and then by the Atlantic Ocean to the ports of Hamburg, Bremen, London and Trieste.
North Americans and local producers used to send their coffee to New York City also by Cape Horn. It was a long way to go, but we should remember that there was no Panama Canal then. Even tough these countries have coasts facing the Caribbean Sea, the distance from the producing highlands and the lack of roads made it more feasible to ship it through the Pacific Ports.
For these countries it was easier to ship to the West Coast of US, but California's market was not attractive then. Even to this date most of Nicaraguan Coffee goes to Germany, France and Holland. Only with the awakening of the Gourmet coffee in the US from the 1970's is that Specialty buyers have been offering premium Nicaraguan coffee and the market has been veering to the US, mostly through the ports of New York and San Francisco.
History of La Hammonia Farm and Selva Negra Coffee Estate
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 harvest in the northern highlands. Many young immigrants accepted the offer, thus forming the main coffee plantations of the country, many of which bear the names of the immigrant's motherland. Selva Negra's coffee farm is called Hammonia, Latin for Hamburg, which was the hometown of Mr. Hans Bösche, German immigrant who first settled the land.
The Selva Negra Estate has been exporting quality old style Arabica coffee, with the tradition of shaded coffee, since 1890. Remnants from the original German settlers are prevalent today on the Selva Negra Ecolodge, from Mr. Bösche's original cabin to the front wheel of the famous Terrocarril.
The estate's proprietors are committed to ecological agriculture and preserve over 300 acres of the estate that contains a vast virgin rain forest. Eddy Kühl and Mausi Hayn, descendants of the original German Immigrants, demonstrate their dedication in many ways from the use of organic fertilizer to the innovative use of coffee by-products to produce methane gas for cooking. The Kühl's house adjoins the coffee "beneficio" (processing mill), ensuring the close monitoring of production to achieve top quality coffee.
Appellations are systems that are designed to maintain the integrity and quality of each growing area; most often appellations are based on unique climate, soil and geographic differences. Appellation, in the coffee industry is being developed in hopes that it will increase consumer recognition and respect. Most of you who are familiar with the definition of appellation may be in respect to the wine world, but in coffee? If we think about what appellation is used for we will see the benefits that it can bring the coffee world. As stated by Rivers Janssen of Fresh Cup Magazine:
"[Appellation] is used in the wine industry to both specify the flavor and growing processes used for a region's wines and to ensure that a wine grown outside of specifications cannot misrepresent itself and reap the benefits of consumer expectation"
If we think of all the coffees that we have heard of , Ethiopian Yergacheff, Costa Rica Tarrazu, Guatemala Huehuetango, Kenya AA, do we know what the names stands for aside from a different name Yet, when you pick up a bottle of Pauillac "Bordeaux" you not only know that the wine was grown and stored by the Chateau Latour winery, but also that it was grown in the Bordeaux region and that it underwent certain minimum standards during grape selection, harvesting, and processing. Otherwise, it would simply be a house wine, and not deserving of the Bordeaux name.
Appellation, in the coffee industry is being enveloped in hopes that it will increase consumer recognition and respect towards the elite coffees in the world, and raise the table of standards for all other coffees. Coffee appellation is definitely at its infancy, but we hope that the consumer will soon force the coffee industry to adopt some appellation standards.
Selva Negra's Coffee Appellation
- Altitude: 4000 ft.
- Variety: Bourbon, Caturra (Arabica)
- Growing Method: Organic, shade grown
- Region: Isabelia Sierra, Matagalpa Nicaragua
- Harvest Time: November - February
- Washing Process: Ecological wet mill
- Drying Process: Sun Drying
- Grade: SHG, Euro-Prep #17
- Estate Mark: Selva Negra Estate
- Port of Shipping: Corinto (Pacific)
- Owners: Kühl-Hayn Family