Union Cooperativas Agropecuarias San Juan del Rio Coco (UCA SJRC) was founded in 1993 in the small town of San Juan del Rio Coco about 50 km east of the Panamerican Highway. In 1996 the founding members recognized two important points: that the future of sustainable agriculture lies in organic farming and that the future of specialty coffee lies in quality. From that point on the association channeled its efforts into these two fundamentals, and the fantastic coffee they produce today is proof of their success.
UCA San Juan del Rio Coco consists of eight base cooperatives with a total of 370 smallholder farmer members. The hilly terrain in the San Juan del Rio Coco area makes for a number of distinct microclimates, resulting in unique flavor profiles from each of their individual member coops. The majority of coffee sold by the association is certified organic and is blended from deliveries from the various co-ops. This allows the UCA to ship the freshest coffee available, as each individual co-op delivers relatively small quantities over several months. Most of the UCA SJRC FTO SHG EP that Atlas sources is this co-op blend, which we’ve found to be a terrific Nicaragua type. The pronounced sweetness, bright acidity and crisp finish make it versatile in a variety of applications.
Of the eight cooperative members of UCA SJRC, one in particular consistently stands out to us for its complexity and elegance. The coffees delivered by Cooperativa Agropecuaria de Producción “Carlos Fonseca Amador Número Uno” routinely show black cherry, raisin, cranberry, brown sugar and roasted chestnut in the cup and are among the finest FTO Nicaragua coffees we’ve ever seen. Carlos Fonseca coffees come at a slight premium to the UCA blend, and we’re happy to support the efforts of this group for the greater and quality and traceability they provide.