Episode 679

Nicaragua Finca Limoncillo Washed Red Pacamara Peaberry

There's bags of sweet but clean melon flavour up front, with a sweetness of brown sugar filling out as the cup cools. A delicate raisin comes in on the finish too, followed on the aftertaste by fresh lime zest. Complex, interesting and elegant.

Nicaragua Finca Limoncillo Washed Red Pacamara Peaberry

The story of Hasbean and Finca Limoncillo is a long and exciting one - we've been working together for 13 years now! A bakers' dozen of coffee harvests shared between Matagalpa and Stafford make us very happy customers. We've been telling the story of this relationship for many years now and we don't intend to stop any time soon because it's such a big, big, big relationship for us! So much of where we are today has come from this relationship. We're super proud of everything that's happened in the past, and super excited for where we can go in the future.

Limoncillo (and a handful of other fantastic farms) are owned by Dr. Erwin Mierich. Having previously lived and worked in the USA, he returned to Nicaragua in the mid-1990s. He explained, "While I was living in the United States, I worked as a gynaecologist, but then I had to come back to Nicaragua and lead this farm. Coffee has been my passion since I was a little boy".

Our relationship with Finca Limoncillo began in 2007, and back then we were buying their delicious coffee as part of a buying group. We cupped the coffee and instantly loved it - We had to have it! It was a wonderful surprise to discover after the auction closed that it was owned by a family in Nicaragua who were already good friends of ours! The following year we visited the farm with our Nicaraguan importers and agreed that they would bring the coffee into the UK for us.

A few years ago we were notified by the importers that they would not be buying the coffee again (for reasons other than the cup quality) which led to some frantic phone calls on our part, and a dig down the back of the sofa for enough loose change to fund buying 12 months' worth of coffee all in one go. There were many, many obstacles in the way of doing this deal, but we were lucky in that we were able to pull everything together in a very short amount of time. The upside of all of this is that we now work directly with Finca Limoncillo instead of going via anyone else. This coffee has gone from a one-off Cup of Excellence buy to a fantastic long-term relationship that we're so very proud to have.

Finca Limoncillo is located in the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua and it's a whopping 171 hectares in size, which is heckin chonky! 109 hectares of this is used for coffee cultivation, with the remainder used to raise cattle and horses, and left to natural woodland. The family have heaps of policies and initiatives to make everything as sustainable as possible on this vast farming area: their use of chemicals is minimal, and the impact on the environment is always minimised by careful and considerate land management.

It's owned and run by the Mierisch family who are, by now, very close friends, and well-respected producers in Nicaragua. They're known for their experimental processing, varietal work, and exceptional coffee. The family employ over 3000 staff during the harvest, and at Limoncillo over 60 families live on the farm full time. They are seriously loved by the guys who work for them, more than any other producer we buy from there is genuine love and respect between the family and their workers. The fact that the family are our friends helps us drill down into the details of what they do for the people who work for them.

On the farm, the family:

  • The employers pay their staff 30% more than what is typical minimum wage, as well as:
  • Provide free housing for 60 families on their farms
  • Provide free electricity and running water for their homes
  • Provide free food for all workers
  • Have free daycare facilities for families to use
  • Provide free health care facilities on the farms
  • Employee on-site teachers who educate their staff and teach other skills such as pottery and weaving. The goal is to help staff diversify their skills. The teachers are also paid twice the wages they would receive in the cities.

This is a Pacamara varietal coffee. Pacamaras are a little crazy on the cupping table. Pacamaras are exciting. Here at Hasbean, we really like Pacamaras! It's a varietal that came from two quite different varietals and the name Pacamara came from its parents - Pacas and Maragogype.

Pacas is a natural and spontaneous mutation of Bourbon, El Salvador's answer to Villa Sarchi in Costa Rica or Caturra in Brazil, it thrived in the El Salvadorian climate where it was first found, but is very happy in other Central American countries too. Maragogype (pronounced mah-rah-go-heep-eh) is another natural mutation but this time of Typica, however it really puts the MUTANT in mutation as it's a huge varietal and where Pacamara gets its bigger size from.

So how did they meet? No not at a bar on or Tinder, but in the Genetic Department of the Salvadoran Institute for Coffee Research (ISIC) back in 1958. There was a coffee breeding program using lots of varietals, these two of many, and after a great deal of work, seed distribution and trial and error, Pacamara became the amazing varietal we know it as today. For a more detailed rundown of the history of the Pacamara varietal, please have a read of the article we have on its history here.

As well as being a big ol' Pacamara, this is also a lil' ol' Peaberry; a thing that's normally big is a little smaller than you might expect. It's an interesting mix of unusual sizing that I hope you'll enjoy.

Normally, the seed of the coffee fruit grows into the green bean that we all know and love from two fertilised seeds inside each fruit, but sometimes things are a little different and a Peaberry is born. When only one of the two seeds is fertilised, it produces a smaller bean that looks like a shrunken version of what we'd normally know as a coffee bean, and that's because only one seed has grown instead of two.

Some say Peaberry coffees are sweeter and more delicious than their regular cousins; some people even come to us specifically looking for these coffees because they crave them so much! I'll let you be the judge.

There's bags of sweet but clean melon flavour up front, with a sweetness of brown sugar filling out as the cup cools. A delicate raisin comes in on the finish too, followed on the aftertaste by fresh lime zest. Complex, interesting and elegant.

  • Country: Nicaragua
  • Department: Matagalpa
  • Community: Yasica Sur
  • Farm: Limoncillo
  • Farm manager: Fausto Martinez
  • Farm owners: Mierisch Family
  • Farm size: 171 hectares
  • Coffee growing area: 119 hectares
  • Protected rainforest: 54 hectares
  • Altitude: 1,200 m.a.s.l.
  • Diurnal temperature cycle: Avg High 25ºC, Low 17ºC
  • Varietal: Red Pacamara Peaberry
  • Processing method: Washed


Melon, brown sugar, raisin, lime zest

  • Clean cup: (1-8): 7
  • Sweetness: (1-8): 6.5
  • Acidity: (1-8): 6
  • Mouthfeel: (1-8): 6.5
  • Flavour: (1-8): 7
  • Aftertaste: (1-8): 6.5
  • Balance: (1-8): 6.5
  • Overall: (1-8): 7
  • Correction: (+36): +36
  • Total: (max. 100): 89

Roast Information
Medium to medium-dark - through 1st crack and just up to the cusp of 2nd, but not in to it. Pace of the development is all important here and don't either rush or slow down the roast - it needs to be just right.

Brewing Tip
Pacamaras have a very unique size, density and structure, so don't expect them to grind like any other coffee. As this is a Pacamara Peaberry, it's also different to a normal Pacamara #tricky

We find going a little finer than you normally would and allowing more time for the grinder to get its teeth into the bigger beans often lead to delicious results. Don't push the grind quite as far as you would for a regular Pacamara, but still make sure to tweak what you're doing to help this coffee show off its natural awesomeness.