Nicaragua Finca La Esperanza – Samuel Zavala

August 03, '21

At Dimattina we value family and relationships extremely highly. One type of relationship we are particularly proud of is that which we share with our producing partners; but one in particular stands out, Finca La Esperanza (Farm of Hope).

All the way back in 2013, WA director Simon Dimattina along with production managers Joe Garzo (WA) and Agim Tarevski (VIC) travelled to Nicaragua in search of amazing new coffees. After an intense cupping session of over fifty lots they settled on a unique Caturra from legendary coffee producer Salatiel Zavala (Sala) of Finca La Esperanza. The team visited Sala and his family at their home and immediately formed a strong bond. We purchased Sala’s coffee that day and brought it back to Australia as our first direct trade origin!

smiling with plant

The following year myself and Joe made the journey back to Nicaragua for the annual Cup of Excellence competition (read about this trip here). During our stay we took the opportunity to visit our friend Sala and his family. I was lucky enough to meet Sala’s son Samuel and we immediately hit it off. Samuel has an insatiable passion for coffee, bucking the trend of the younger generation of farmers shying away from coffee production. With his agronomy background, Samuel has taken his coffee to new heights, most recently placing 4th in the 2018 Cup of Excellence program with a score of 90.23!

Last year Samuel took over the operation of both La Esperanza and his father’s other farm El Cambalache. Continuing the farms’ reputation for quality, Samuel has adopted new techniques from his time studying agronomy in neighbouring Honduras; he has now begun experimenting with his micro-lots to tap into the increasing demand for unique processing methods. We are very proud to be showcasing Samuel’s special Red Catuai and Caturra for our offering this year and equally proud to have dealt directly with Samuel himself, negotiating a high price that reflects the quality of his produce.


Finca La Esperanza itself is not what you would generally think of when you picture a farm. Large shade trees tower over the rough-beaten tracks made by the coffee pickers and numerous other crops are scattered throughout the coffee. As with most farming, biodiversity is a vital part of operating a sustainable coffee farm; it prevents mono-cropping (lack of nutrients in the soil) and adds complexity to the final cup.

I remember one of my most eye-opening coffee moments took place at Finca La Esperanza. While hiking through the dense forest which makes up most of the farm, I casually picked a red coffee cherry from one of the low hanging branches and tasted it. It wasn’t great. Mostly it tasted like green capsicum; grassy, peppery, not sweet at all. Sala noticed my distaste and handed me another that he had plucked from a different tree. The cherry looked (to my eyes) identical to the one I had just tried but the difference in taste was phenomenal! This cherry was like biting into a perfectly ripe passionfruit; it was sweet, juicy and sticky. This was the moment when the skill of the farmer truly became apparent to me.

Sala, Samuel and his family have been an important part of my growth as a coffee professional and we are beyond excited to have Finca La Esperanza on our shelves once again. Check out the two lots we have available in our shop