Our unique Fairtrade coffee brand ‘Perkee’ is farmed by the Soppexcca coop in Nicaragua.
Perkee coffee beans are grown in Jinotega, a north central region of Nicaragua. In 1997, the charismatic Fátima Ismael took over the struggling Soppexcca coffee cooperative. She developed a business plan that would revolutionise it, improving the lives of its members and the community. Soppexcca’s aim is to empower women farmers; coffee profits are ploughed back into education, diversification and health centres. Women are an important part of the farmer co-operatives that produces Perkee, and nearly 40% of Soppexcca’s members are women. Together with the wives of the male participants, they play an essential role in running the enterprise.
More than 320 women take part in a solidarity savings and loan programme to diversify their families’ income and complement coffee production. Many of them are saving money for the first time in their lives, and are learning business, marketing and credit skills. This community participation helps the women develop leadership abilities and boosts their self-esteem.
Wendy Bartlett, Executive Chairman, bartlett mitchell, said, “When I read about Fátima and her view that a ‘woman’s independence can only be achieved through economic autonomy and awareness’, I recognised a kindred spirit. I was determined that we would partner with Soppexcca to create bartlett mitchell’s new coffee. By drinking Perkee, our customers can enjoy a great-tasting, Fairtrade coffee, and make a positive difference to the Soppexcca community.”
One of the reasons Nicaragua is a great destination for coffee roasters around the world is because of the coffee’s complex and fruit-like flavours. The region of Jinotega where the Soppexcca cooperative grows, our single origin Perkee bean is 3,600ft above sea level. The area has a rich volcanic soil, a humid tropical forest climate, and lush vegetation, including a great variety of lichens, moss, ferns, and orchids. The rainy season begins in May and ends sometime in December. Soppexcca grow different Arabica coffee tree varieties including Bourbon and Caturra. Coffee cherries are generally harvested from December to March and it is a wet process. This means the fruit covering the seeds and beans is removed before they are dried.
The Perkee coffee bean when roasted and just before its second crack, releases a very pleasant dark chocolate flavour eased with caramel notes and a complex acidity.