Climate change, coffee rust, the coffee borer beetle… in order to mitigate the effects of the many threats to the coffee harvest, coffee producers do well to consider applying new methods. Finca Mierisch in Nicaragua regularly comes face-to-face with these problems too, but they don’t let it stop them.
African drying beds
Unwashed coffee is processed using the ‘dry’ method. After picking, the coffee berries are left to dry on the patio and once the berries are dry, the coffee beans are removed. Climate change has led to heavy rainfall in Nicaragua, even during the dry period. It can be a real challenge to get the beans to dry quickly enough when the coffee harvest is very good. The Mierisch family is hoping to solve this by using African drying beds, which have been installed in a purpose-built drying area on one of the finca’s patios. These drying beds, first used in Africa, consist of raised tables with mesh on which the beans can be left to dry. The mesh ensures good air circulation to prevent fungi from growing.
Fincas Mierisch is formed by nine finca’s, on all of which new coffee varieties are tested. By cross-breeding different plants, new varieties of coffee plant are created. Each variety has its own characteristics and a specific flavour, yield and resistance to diseases. Several of the family’s plantations survived the coffee rust crisis because any affected coffee plants were removed and destroyed immediately after being discovered. In addition, existing varieties that are susceptible to coffee rust were replaced by yellow Pacamara, a variety that is known to produce a better ‘cup’ and to be resistant to coffee rust.