2019 was our first year sourcing this beautiful coffee – a cultivated variety called Yellow Catuai – from one of our longest-running coffee partners, Mausi and Eddy Kühl of the Selva Negra Estate in Nicaragua. In a few short years, it has grown into one of our favorites.
We had been buying green coffee farmed by the Kühl family in the mountainous region of Matagalpa, Nicaragua for more than 15 years. In fact, our Rainforest Alliance Certified Nicaragua Selva Negra is one of our favorites. When we explored our first duo box featuring Nicaraguan coffees, we immediately wanted to feature the Selva Negra Estate.
“The thing that makes this coffee so special is the scarcity of the cultivar,” said Kevin Swenk, Joe Van Gogh Director of Coffee. “It’s not widely cultivated, especially in that part of the world.”
“The Yellow Catuai produces higher amounts of acidity in the cup than its more well-known cousin Red Catuai,” Kevin continued. “It’s also harder for pickers to know when the beans are ripe and ready to be picked.”
Mausi pays certain pickers an additional premium to pick the Yellow Catuai plants, since they are interspersed throughout the farm and not one single lot. When Kevin visited Selva Negra in the winter of 2020, he was able to bring a bag of Yellow Catuai Natural to Mausi and her staff to taste.
They were blown away by the coffee. More than once they asked, “This is OUR coffee?”
Previously, they hadn’t experienced anything with so much fruit and sweetness in the cup. During that trip, Mausi shared that she wasn’t sure if the farm could process another lot of the Yellow Catuai that year, mostly due to the added care and cost to produce the lot. Joe Van Gogh assured her that we would happily pay the premium for her crop. Lucky for us, Mausi has continued to produce this wonderful lot the past two years. And we couldn’t be happier to be offering this to our customers for the third straight year.
The Selva Negra Estate is committed to environmentally friendly and socially conscious practices. In efforts to continue sustainability, the coffee is shade-grown, coffee by-product is used for composting, farmers use a water processing method that decreases water usage forty times than the average commercial mill, and the farmers continue the development of organic weed and pest control in their own labs.
Yellow Catuai is a pure-line cultivar developed by the Instituto Agronômico de Campinas (IAC) in Brazil. Catuai originated from a hybrid between Mundo Novo and yellow Caturra cultivars. Released in 1968, it is characterized by a dwarf stature (from Caturra) and either yellow or red cherries (Catuai-amarelo and Catuai-vermelho, respectively). It has good productivity and susceptibility to all main pests and diseases.
Fast forward to 2022: We are proud to bring this coffee back. With flavor notes of cherry, tangerine, and toasted almond, it is a coffee that's sure to please.
Click here to learn more.