Hi, I’m MikaElla Pamaran and I was today’s Lider del Dia for Global Business.
Two of Nicaragua’s major exports are coffee and chocolate. Today, we visited Soppexca, a cooperative in Jinotega that produces coffee and chocolate. We started our morning by walking to Soppexca. Once we arrived, we all sat down for a morning coffee. Most of us had Cafe Helados (Iced Coffee), while some had unknown drinks like Bombons. We then split into two groups for coffee sampling and chocolate making.
I was a part of the group that started with chocolate making. We learned that Soppexca is actually fairly new to chocolate making compared to their coffee brewing. A couple of employees showed us the process of how cacao is made into chocolate. The cacao beans are first put into a roaster that heats it up to 150 degrees celcius. The roasted beans are then put into a Willy Wonka style machine that separates bean and the shell. The beans are ground down and heated 3 times until being mixed with sugar. Once the beans and sugar are melted together, the chocolate is finally made. Soppexca premade some chocolate for us so we could create our own chocolate bars. We each made five bars, purposefully spilling the chocolate so we could lick our fingers. We were like little kids in a candy store, literally. Soppexca had boxes and boxes of chocolates we could buy. Taking a break from our sugar rush, my group made its way to sample coffee.
The coffee sampling was a bit of a shocker to the group. The barista, Manuel, presented us with the process of coffee making. The bean is initially encased in a shell. After, the bean and shell are separated. Once separated, the bean is roasted to a dark brown. Manuel then had us smell 3 different bowls of coffee beans. They all smelled different but were actually all the same bean. Manuel explained that coffee beans are scaled for their quality by acidity, aroma, aftertaste, and bitterness. Even if they’re the same, they can taste or smell differently because of the climate, location, and impurities it gets exposed to while growing. Tasting coffee comes with 3 steps: infusing, breaking, and cleaning. Infusing meant adding the ground coffee to the hot water. Breaking the coffee meant to mix the coffee settled at the top and push it down to the bottom of the cup. Cleaning the coffee mean to scoop out the foam. With these preliminary steps finished, we finally got to sample the coffee. Sampling the coffee consisted of taking a huge slurp of coffee, making it reach the back of your throat, and spitting it into a cup. This step is repeated three times: when the coffee is hot, warm, and cold. The group’s favorite part was definitely taking pictures of each other while we spit into cups.
Global Business was a day that everyone looked forward to and enjoyed. I’m pretty sure all of us never want to go back to Hershey’s ever again.a