A premium bean from Nicaragua’s Central Highlands
We discovered this bean after meeting Giff Laube and Jose Enrique Herrera, the owners of Cacao Bisiesto, at their farm just outside the town of Matagalpa. The beans are named after the town in and around which they’re grown, which is located in Nicaragua’s Central Highlands about an hour’s drive northeast from Matagalpa.
Most cacao farms in Nicaragua are too small to generate enough volume to properly ferment the wet cacao (known as “baba”). For this reason, among others, many farmers simply dry their baba and sell it at local markets at a very low price, since unfermented beans don’t develop the flavor characteristics that we recognize as quality chocolate. Giff and Jose realized that the beans the local farmers were growing had the potential to be fine flavor beans, so they built a fermentation and drying facility on their farm and began reaching out to local farmers, convincing them to sell their baba to Cacao Bisiesto for a higher price than they’d get at local markets. Cacao Bisiesto is now working with many farmers in the region, gathering their beans and then fermenting and drying them to their exacting standards.
Small family farms
One of the farmers Cacao Bisiesto works with is Bayardo Benavidez Blandon. Bayardo owns a 10-acre farm in the town of El Carmen and grows several different crops, including cardamom, fruit trees and cacao. The El Carmen bean comes from his farm as well as about a dozen small farms owned by his family in and around the town. The baba is placed on local buses for transport to Cacao Bisiesto, where they’re fermented and custom dried for Goodnow Farms.
During our trips to meet Giff and Jose we were impressed with their extensive knowledge of cacao post harvest practices, which was gained from years of working with cacao at origin. They’re also very committed to paying a premium for the beans they receive from local farmers, and to educating farmers on the best ways to farm and propagate their cacao.
Flavor profile: We’ve worked closely with Cacao Bisisesto to develop a custom drying technique that perfectly highlights the deep, earthy flavors of this bean. There are notes of caramel and raisin from start to finish!