From my accounts of previous trips, readers know I have a soft spot for Nicaragua. So I’m happy to report that the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center has now has three Bird-Friendly certified coffee producers in the country.
Selva Negra — Selva Negra, near Jinotega, is 450 ha that consists of an ecolodge, organic gardens, ponds, 150 ha of preserved cloud forest, and a coffee farm (actually named Finca La Hammonia, although usually referred to as Selva Negra). About 120 to 150 ha are in shade coffee production, much of it organic; 87 ha is now certified Bird-Friendly. Finca La Hammonia grows bourbon and caturra between 1200 and 1300 m. The sustainability efforts of Selva Negra are extensive and well-known, the farm has long been Rainforest Alliance certified, and the coffee has been well-represented in the U.S. by multiple roasters, including Allegro/Whole Foods.
The forested area has numerous trails (I have been there twice), hosts over 500 tree species, 130 species of orchids, and at least 280 species of birds. A number of restricted-range, rare bird species that are hard to find elsewhere are common at Selva Negra, including Three-wattled Bellbird (conservation status “Vulnerable”) and Resplendent Quetzal (Near Threatened).
Read more at their excellent web site.
Unión de Cooperativas Agropecuarias San Juan del Rio Coco — This cooperative is located in the northern department of Madriz, near the towns of San Juan del Rio Coco and Telpaneca. The certified area covers 709 ha and 128 growers, and the co-op is also certified Fair Trade and Utz Certified.
Gaia Estate (Finca Bosques de Gaia) – This small, 18-ha farm owned by Jefferson Shriver and Gabriela Navarez is located outside the familiar central highlands of Nicaragua, south of the capital Managua near Diriamba, Carazo department.
Birds & Beans has contracted with all of these producers and will incorporate the beans in two of their coffees this fall. They purchased all of Gaia’s current crop, and it will appear in the Wood Thrush variety, and Selva Negra’s coffee will be in the Chestnut-sided Warbler variety. San Juan del Rio Coco should show up next year.
A list of all current Bird-Friendly certified farms can be found here.