The Canales family of Pueblo Nuevo is a Nicaraguan national treasure and a singular example of how pairing organic farming practices with a relentless focus on coffee quality can create economic, social and environmental value. The family got its start in coffee back in 1958, when Don Pio Canales purchased a rambling cattle farm in the hills above Pueblo Nuevo that he called Los Delirios. His son Daniel bet the farm, quite literally, on coffee, and over the past 35 years, he and his sons Milton, Norman and Donald have doubled down on that bet again and again, expanding the farm gradually through steady reinvestment of coffee earnings. Along the way, they have made Los Delirios a reference point for the country’s coffee sector and organic farmers everywhere.
The trajectory of the family’s story arc changed dramatically with Daniel’s historic COE win in 2004. We purchased that winning lot and have never looked back: 2017 marked the 14th straight year we have sourced coffee from Canales family farms.
Today, Los Delirios bears little resemblance to the farm Don Pio purchased nearly 60 years ago. Over the past 35 years, the farm has grown to nearly three times its original size, not so much a farm, perhaps, as a collection of small farms cobbled together around the core of the old estate. As the farm has grown, the family has created more employment opportunities for its neighbors, never losing the exacting focus on quality that helped it win that seminal 2004 COE competition. The family’s commitment quality is visible today in its wet milling experimentation, its growing warren of shaded raised drying beds and its renovation with high-quality cultivars including Geisha and Pacamara.
But the Los Delirios story isn’t just about the economic success the Canales family has achieved through its relentless pursuit of coffee quality. It is also, importantly, a story of social and environmental impact.
The Canales family’s steady reinvestment in coffee production has followed a simple formula, producing delicious organic coffee while turning pasture lands into havens of biodiversity: coffee-based agroforestry systems that are sequestering carbon, regulating the water cycle, creating a natural habitat for flora and fauna. In the process, they have generated employment opportunities and environmental benefits for their neighbors and delicious coffee for Intelligentsia and our guests.
For more perspective on Los Delirios and our 14-year relationship with the Canales family, listen to this conversation between the guy who bought Intelligentsia’s first lot from Los Delirios, Vice President of Coffee Geoff Watts, and the guy who bought the last one, Director of Sourcing and Shared Value Michael Sheridan.