In the late 1800s, German families immigrated to the New World in search of better lives and livelihoods. On their way north to try their luck in California’s gold rush, they paused in Nicaragua and fell in love. So they stayed. And some of them planted coffee.
In 1974, Eddy and Mausi Kühl, both descendants of those early German immigrants, bought one of those coffee farms. They refurbished the La Hammonia farm and made it totally diversified and sustainable in less than a decade. They have preserved a third of the property as virgin forest, another third as shade coffee forest, and the last third as intensive rotational pastures for cattle and organic farming.
The Selva Negra Coffee Estate has won the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Sustainability Award in both 2007 and 2008, the Sempervirens Award in the ‘90s, and other sustainability awards.
Selva Negra is a community of over 600 people including the workers and their families. Housing, Clinic, Schooling, Clean water and bathroom facilities are all critical to a sustainable living environment. But beyond that a healthy and happy family unit is important. The estate sponsors a clinic with full-time nurse, school with education up to sixth grade, scholarship opportunities for continued education, adult and children’s library, as well as baseball teams and special occasion celebrations.
Importer: First Crop
The Nziza Collective is made up of 200 women who are the sole supporters of their households and are producing some of the best coffee in the region. This is a micro lot of the Kivu Lake Coffee, which are hand sorted to showcase their quality. Kivu Lake is one of the best places in the world to grow coffee, but these beans are made excellent by careful and skilled cultivation.
First crop works directly with land of a thousand hills and their coffee farming villages to provide a living wage, education, healthcare and clean water, while investing in the craft of specialty coffee. A sewing collective was set up for Nziza as a source of income during the off-season.
Dolce Cerrado / Sao Silvestre
The Andrade family history began in 1901, with their ancestors at Capim Branco Farm, in Carmo do Paranaíba, High Cerrado Estate of Minas Gerais. With the aim to produce high quality coffees, Ismael Andrade established his farms in this region during the 70’s. In early 90’s, Sao Silvestre farm was acquired. The farms are located in altitudes between 1.100 and 1.200 meters, which provides ideal conditions for growing coffee due to its perfect balance of wet and dry seasons.
Combined with the natural conditions of the region, the correct management of crops, crop planning and post-harvest with selection criteria of cherries, grains and natural drying, the results are excellent quality, award-winning beans, appreciated worldwide. The volcanic soils are perfect for growing Yellow Icatu, Yellow Catuaí and Red Catuai varietals, which thrives here and accounts for the majority of the farm’s yield. This is where Brazil’s best natural coffee beans are produced.
In 1991, Ismael Andrade together with another eleven producers, who envisioned the opportunities that investing in the quality of the coffee would bring, founded the BSCA (Brazil Specialty Coffee Association) that supports all small coffee producers in the region, not only that, it also helps producers improve quality, which improves sustainability. Helping producers to reach out for the importers worldwide, with eco-friendly coffee is another activity that BSCA performs.
Sao Silvestre farm helps to maintain the local hospital, Santa Casa de Misericordia, through donations or assistance with medical supplies. Mr Andrade has joined the board of directors in the past and today he works raising sponsors to sustain the hospital, helping them acquire new medical equipment and maintain the quality when taking care of patients.