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Written By Tayt Bale 14 Aug 2019

In 1955, Luis Emilio Valladarez began growing coffee plants in the region of Dipolto, starting with his 6-hectare Buenos Aires farm. The farm is currently managed by his son Olmann Valladarez, with the Buenos Aires farm now stretching across 100 hectares. Over the past two decades, the Valladarez family have consistently won awards at the Nicaragua Cup of Excellence, and featured prominently in the Starbucks reserve program. Separating crops by variety, experimenting and using multi-processes for their coffees, and always focusing on quality and improvement, have led this farm to the forefront of the Nicaragua specialty coffee scene.   

As the name would suggest, the Java cultivar was introduced to the island of Java, Indonesia, directly from Ethiopia by the Dutch in the early 19th century. The seeds were brought to Cameroon in the mid-20th century, undergoing 20 years of research and selection before being released for cultivation in the 1980s.  It was introduced to Costa Rica in 1991 via the CIRAD research institute, as a potential disease-resistant variety for Central America. It was released to these countries in order to discover better varietals for theses microclimates and modernize coffee production at that time. Consequently, Java was never really evaluated for cup quality—only disease-resistance and yield potential. 

By the mid-’90s these research programs had been suspended due to lack of funding, with no one in Nicaragua wanting to plant a variety unproven at scale to be disease-resistant. One story goes though, that a recently redundant research institute worker sold a bag of seeds (and some beaten up spades!) to a local farmer. This farmer had another ex-research institute agronomist working for them, who was ecstatic to discover the seeds that were brought back—they had consistently cupped the best back at the institute. 

Recent genetic fingerprinting of molecular markers show this coffee coming from an Ethiopian landrace population called Abyssinia. Abyssinia also used to be the former name for Gesha coffee … So we’re not saying this is Gesha … but it is pretty damn tasty! Naturally processed and tasting of pink lemonade and Darjeeling.