The brothers David Ariel and Luis Joaquin Lovo own and operate three marvelous farms in the Dipilto mountain range in northern Nueva Segovia. Finca La Pradera is David Ariel’s pride and joy, and is named for the pastures below the farm that were once used for grazing cattle and horses. The highest point of the farm, at around 1,600 masl, is also primarily grass with no trees, adding to the significance of the name. The Lovos’ farms are all managed using similar techniques.
The majority of the coffee area is planted with around 4,000 trees per manzana (a manzana in Central America is around .7 hectares, or 1.3 acres,) under shade trees that allow 30% – 40% sunlight. Great care is taken to harvest at the ideal point of ripeness, and the peak of the harvest usually occurs mid-February. Each of the three Lovo family estates has its own wet mill for depulping and fermenting. No water is added to the coffee during fermentation and the process usually takes 12 – 15 hours depending on the air temperature. Clean water from the mountain is then used to wash the mucilage off of the parchment coffee, and the waste water is treated with minerals and enzymes and filtered before being reintroduced into the environment. The coffee cherry pulp is composted, mixed with calcium carbonate (a.k.a. “Cal”) to neutralize the acidity, blended with chicken manure and other organic components and used as fertilizer on the farm.
One of the most interesting things about the three Lovo family farms is that each produces a unique cup profile despite the farms’ close proximity and nearly identical husbandry practices. Coffee from Finca La Pradera is distinct for its clear and snappy tamarind, plum and honey character, balanced by a satiny mouthfeel and cane sugar finish.