Silvio Sanchez Coffee

The Story of Silvio Sánchez in Nicaragua

Silvio Sanchez is one of the few young coffee producers in the region of Nueva Segovia. Here, coffee traditions have flourished for centuries, often passed down through generations. However, today, many young folks are opting for city life or emigration, endangering the coffee growing tradition. Silvio choose to defy this trend and become a breathe of fresh air in the coffee growing culture. Despite not having grown up in a coffee family, he teamed up with his mother to create a model farm: Santa Teresa de Mogotón.

Silvio Sanchez Coffee

The drive from Silvio’s home town of Ocotal to the farm is a transcendent experience. Over the course of one and a half hours you pass through numerous different ecosystems. From the dry valley of Ocotal through lush forest and rivers along the way to end up at the pine forest that surrounds Silvio’s farm. Silvio founded his farm high up in the mountain with plenty of rainfall to nurture his coffee plants as well as numerous protective shade trees. These trees protect the coffee from the strong equator sun during the day, allowing for a slow maturation of the coffee cherries. Nevertheless, high up in the mountain the temperatures can drop below 10 degrees celsius at night, inducing just the right amount of stress for the coffee plants to produce additional sugars for survival. 

Cerro Mogoton

Although this climate is perfect for growing high quality coffee, it makes drying coffee at the farm impossible. Hence, Silvio pack the coffee carefully in plastic crates and drives down back to Ocotal each night. Here he can make use of the dry valley to dry his coffee. The low relative humidity and high temperatures of the valley have allowed Silvio to perfect the natural process. By drying coffee in the natural process, without removing the seed from the cherry, it promotes more fermentation creating the signature strawberry and dark chocolate flavours that Silvio’s coffee is famous for.

Natural Process Coffee

In the seven years that I have known Silvio there is one thing that has always impressed me the most about his farm. The people that work there have been with Silvio and his mother since the beginning. Many employees of coffee farms in Nicaragua live a nomadic life style, moving from one farm to the other. In the last couple of years an incredible number of people have emigrated to the United States as the work on coffee farms was not able to support them. This is not the case on Silvio’s farm, his trusted workers stick with Silvio through literally the toughest storms and break bread together in their weekly cook outs. This is a testament to Silvio’s incredibly warm character and infective passion for coffee production. The farm has become a mountainous sanctuary for those that choose to support the local Nicaraguan coffee production through their labour and are awarded for their commitment in a truly symbiotic relationship with Silvio.

Nicaraguan Tortillas

It was Silvio who picked me up late at night from a dark street corner in Ocotal when I first got there and he instantly took great care of me. A major part of my personal journey in the coffee industry will forever by tied to Silvio, the town of Ocotal and Nicaragua. A lot of those humble beginnings are reflected in the humble start of Paso Paso. The consistent quality, care for people and persistence of Silvio are a true inspiration for the company, I now proudly call him a partner in. Despite our fair share of challenges in the dynamic world of coffee, Silvio and I have always put our friendship first, as if I were their on the coffee farm with him. I could not imagine to launch Paso Paso without him.

Bram and Silvio

If you would like to learn more about Silvio check out the video below or follow Silvio on Instagram.

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