Jack Ryan’s Nordic Roaster Competition 2018 winning trip to El Salvador & Nicaragua

Congratulations to Muttley & Jack’s Coffee Roasters of Sweden, the winner of the maracaturra category at the 2018 Nordic Roaster Competition! The prize for winning this category last year was a trip to visit the producer of the supplied maracaturra coffee. One of Nordic Roaster Forum’s long-standing partners has been Belco, which generously sponsored the prize-winning trip.

Jack’s six day trip first took him to Bordeaux, France, where he met and cupped with the Belco sales team. From there, Jack made his intercontinental trip to Santa Ana, El Salvador, where the maracaturra producer, Olman, has one of his several farms. Over two days at El Manzano, Jack toured the farm’s wet mill, cupped fresh crop (including pacamara, caturra, pacas, and bourbon varieties), and visited La Cumbre, the peak section of El Manzano, where Olman’s 2018 COE-winning gesha grows. According to Jack, the fresh gesha cherries taste like peach frozen yogurt.

The second half of Jack’s trip was spent in Ocotol and Dipilto, Nicaragua, where Olman’s dry mill and most of his farms are located. Finca Buenos Aires is the original farm that Olman’s father established in the 1950s, and is also the location of the maracaturra plantation, which produced the lot for Nordic Roaster Competition. At the dry mill, Jack learns about the various processes that Olman produces, from washed, to honeys, to naturals.

Jack’s final day was spent at Finca San Salvador and Finca Monte Livano, a farm Olman purchased last year, and is the highest of all his plantations in Nicaragua. Of this final leg of his trip, Jack reports that, “[Monte Livano] has its own water source and is wild and beautiful. There is also cacao growing here.” He finishes his report by describing having, “Finished off the afternoon with a visit to another of [Olman’s] farms – Finca San Salvador. And then an evening horse ride at Olman’s ranch.”

“Meeting the people behind the coffee has been the best thing about this trip to origin. As a small scale roaster it was a rare opportunity for me to spend time with so many people involved in the early stages of production. It was wonderful to witness the passion and enthusiasm of Olman and his team have for innovation and continuous improvement. Visiting at harvest time was very special – such a collective buzz around the farms and the mills and excitement to roast and taste the result of this years experiments. Experiencing the fragrance of the coffee blossom for the first time was even better than I imagined!” – Jack Ryan