The Coffee

Learn more about the ins and outs of your beans.
They've got pedigree, yessir-ee, and friends all along the way.

Superior, single-source coffee at a great price!

ECC coffee beans are harvested, roasted and packaged at one source: Gus’s farm in Santa Elena, a fertile coffee growing region in Nicaragua. The advantage of our single-source policy is that you know just what you’re getting: a consistent variety of high-grade coffee from one a justly run and paid farm. Santa Elena has been shipping this award-winning coffee to the mill we are working with for years. So you don’t have to sacrifice product enjoyment for social justice with ECC.

Esperanza Coffee Group roasted our sample shipment of Gus's coffee to a bold medium-dark roast. As our demand increases we will begin roasting blends to provide all kinds of coffee lovers with brews they can savour as their own. Esperanza has renowned cupping facilities (how coffee mills check for taste and quality) on site to ensure quality and consistency of each bag of ECC beans.

Over time, ECC will partner up with many more farmers from around the world to bring our members some of the best exotic coffees you can find. And as a rule, we only deal in direct trade and single-origin coffee with a story you can follow and contribute to over time.

The Cultivation Process

Our coffee grows at 1000 m (over 3000 ft) above sea level in a unique environmental niche with a brief three-month dry season. Gus’s farm, Santa Elena produces 150,000 lbs of green coffee per year, using an exacting fertilization technique that injects dissolved fertilizer into the soil, leaving organic ground matter undisturbed. A variety of shade trees are planted, including a leguminous tree called “red guava” which inhales the abundance of nitrogen dwelling in Jinotega’s mountainous air. The shed leaves of these chemically rich plants are what fertilize the underlying coffee trees, lending their beans the complex and sophisticated flavours of ECC coffee. 

A coffee trees’ treasure, the unrefined green coffee bean, swells to full maturity inside the many clusters of ripening coffee cherries. The workers of Santa Elena can then begin harvest rounds, but are careful to select only the suppler red cherries for further production. For this reason the coffee pickers carry two baskets with them on their harvesting rounds- one for red coffee cherries and a smaller bag for any green beans that may have fallen prematurely.  This exacting separation step is crucial for producing consistent coffees of the highest caliber… just a single green coffee grain has the acrid potency to ruin the taste of one hundred ripe red coffee cherries. 

Santa Elena produces five varieties of coffee — Caturra, Mondo Novo, Catimor, Maragogipe and Parainema — which creates a unique mixture of specialty coffee.

The Milling Process

For the milling stage, Santa Elena uses an ecological wet coffee mill that contaminates little water.  The coffee is fermented for one day before washing and shipment to the dry mill at Esperanza.

Here the coffee beans are sun-bathed for two days until they are sufficiently dry to be stored for a rest period of approximately two months to maximize their flavour.

Esperanza’s production standards prohibit the use of mechanical dryers because they can devastate the bean’s chemical and structural makeup, which resulting in compromised taste. Instead, Esperanza employs people in need of jobs to do this delicate work by hand.

With its small producers association (Aldea Global de Jinotega), Esperanza was the First Place winner at the Cup of Excellence Contest for the years 2002 to 2005 consecutively.