Load image into Gallery viewer, DON ROGER & ISABEL’S NATURAL FRUIT SYMPHONY
Load image into Gallery viewer, DON ROGER & ISABEL’S NATURAL FRUIT SYMPHONY


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Tasting Notes: Kiwi, Strawberry Jam, Pomegranate, Yogurt


Don Roger and coffee plants

A years-in-the-making coffee born out of farmer Don Roger's extensive knowledge of coffee plant varietals and agronomy. A naturally processed bourbon, caturra, pache, java blend, this is an incredible coffee bursting with natural fruitiness. This award-winning cup is full-bodied and packed with kiwi, strawberry and pomegranate notes as well as tantalizing vanilla aromas. Fruit Symphony is grown by seasoned coffee farmers Don Roger and Isabel Mairena, part of the Gold Mountain Coffee Growers family of outstanding farmers dedicated to excellence. 


The Mairenas, passionate lovers of the land, tend their farm meticulously which shows in their verdant, perfect rows of richly laden coffee plants. They steadfastly adhere to alternative, sustainable practices in order to ensure pristine, chemical-free soil, plants, and water. 

Ben Turiano visits with Don Roger

Don Roger and his wife Isabel have a special place in the heart of Joe Bean. They are loving, kind people who have graciously hosted us many times over the years.



Country: Nicaragua
Region: Jinotega
Farmer: Don Roger & Isabel Mairena
Altitude: 1,350-1470 meters
Varietals: Pache, Caturra, Bourbon, Java
Processing: Natural

Net Weight: 175g


Click for our interview with Gold Mountain's Ben Weiner 

See write up by Coffee Review

Blind Assessment: Cocoa-toned, bright and vibrant. Cocoa nib, pink grapefruit zest, pomegranate, freesia-like flowers, cedar in aroma and cup. Balanced, sweet-tart structure with juicy acidity; syrupy-smooth mouthfeel. The cocoa-toned finish is complicated by spicy floral tones.

Notes: Produced by Don Roger and Isabel Mairena of Gold Mountain Coffee Farms from trees of the Bourbon, Caturra, Java and Pache varieties of Arabica, and processed by the natural method (dried in the whole fruit). Joe Bean Roasters is a specialty retail and wholesale coffee roaster based in Rochester, New York.

The Bottom Line: A balanced, sweetly bright natural-processed Nicaragua cup with tart fruit and citrus at the top and a resonant base of cocoa nib and fragrant aromatic

An Interview with Don Roger
Q: How many years have you been farming?
A: I have been working for about 28 years with coffee. We’ve had the farm for about 12 or 13 years.
Q: What made you decide to cultivate coffee?
A: The opportunity came up – I’m an agronomist, and I worked with basic greens and vegetables. But I also had the opportunity to work with coffee and I liked it a lot. We started to get involved in coffee and the opportunity came up with my brother Alejandro, who now lives in Canada, to be able to buy this piece of land. I’ve dedicated myself to cultivating it.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your farm/coffee plants? 
I have all kinds of varieties: bourbon, caturra, pache and java. And a few little trees of geisha that we’re planting. I have a small wet mill.
Q: We know you have a strong commitment to sustainability, can you talk about specific ways you work that are unique? 
The water that I use to wash and to do other jobs in the field is very clean water.  I have a system of tubing that is buried for the runoff water from washing coffee to go through so as not to contaminate nature. 
Q: How do you deal with insecticides?  
I also don’t apply any type of insecticides. What I do is, to control broca [coffee borer beetle] more than anything, I do that manually. I collect the infected cherries, put them in hot water to control the plague of broca. We pick up whatever falls on the ground which would attract the beetle if left, and whatever’s still left on the tree, we pick that off.
I don’t apply neumaticides [pesticides that kill nematodes] because that kills everything in the soil, including all of the decomposing bacteria. I want the organic layer of the soil to be alive, so I put down fertilizers that don’t contaminate the soil. 
Q: How did you start working with Gold Mountain?
A: For me, for us, for our family, it was a blessing from God. My son Roger who is a cupper was friends with an agronomist in Matagalpa named Enrique who knew Ben Weiner. He introduced us in either 2010 or 2011. We started with just a little bit, but now, I sell the entire harvest through Ben. It is a marvelous relationship because it is a family.
Q: How has working with Gold Mountain benefitted you?
A: It has benefited us in a huge way and we have been able to help many people because of it. We’ve improved the conditions of the workers on the farm. We’ve been able to build a comfortable house there. I even give high quality coffee and food to the workers. I throw a party for them at the end of the year. We work as a giant family.
Q: What experiences have shaped your approach to farming?
A: This is something that has come with time, it’s not something you can learn in university. You can’t even learn it in the street. I’ve learned a lot from you. How to prepare coffee… So every year we improve and become more familiar with coffee. And that has been a marvelous situation. We learn through our experiences and through yours.
Q: How many full-time employees do you have?
A: There are times when I have four, there are times when I have five. This year, since I have a little bit more coffee, I have seven to eight permanent workers. That’s eight families that are supported. During the harvest, I have fifteen to thirty workers for about 90-100 days.
Q: Is it difficult to get your workers to follow quality standards?
A: I always train them first. I educate them so I won’t have those problems. Since we’re a small farm, we all get together and talk and I explain that I have to pick the coffee well because otherwise no one will buy it. That is something that we value a lot. There are other farmers that work abysmally. They don’t have that vision to work better because they aren’t educated. Agriculture requires a lot of education in order to make sure that everyone does a good job.
Q: Where do you purchase your varietals, especially the less common ones like geisha?
A: Years ago, I had the opportunity to go to Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and to Panama. So with the friendships I made and through other agronomists, we were able to get a few varieties that they gave to me. I started to experiment with them here. And after I planted them they tasted the quality of the cup and said to me “continue with this because this coffee is excellent!”
At this point, Ben mentioned that he had some roasted pache from Don Roger’s farm. It was with this same pache that Joe Bean won the Good Food Award in 2014. I took this opportunity to tell Roger that his bean is one of the most popular beans we sell every year which pleased him very much.
Q: What improvements do you hope to make in the future on the farm?
A: What I’m trying to do on the farm is, if the tree is getting to the end of its productive life, I am planting new nurseries every year so that the same quality and quantity can be maintained of all varieties. We take care of the plants and feed them with things that are good for them and humans. We also are creating drainage for water.

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