In 2019 alone, Nicaragua saw two major hurricanes less than two weeks apart. The destruction caused by these hurricanes is hard to quantify. Not only did the hurricanes damage structures, but they also ravaged countless acres of farmland, affecting some of the most vulnerable people in Nicaragua: the rural poor. The following year coronavirus exacerbated the devastation even further, forcing more people into abject poverty as they lost work usually sustained through the hospitality industry. Many people relied on work at hotels, resorts, and restaurants to sustain their families, and most of these jobs were immediately rendered void as the virus spread.
These two forces dealt a crushing blow to so many families across Nicaragua. Those who were already extremely susceptible and exposed were left without basic systems of support. In the wake of these issues, we are reminded of the many obstacles that keep Nicaraguan people in the cycle of transgenerational poverty, where escape seems impossible.
It’s within this environment that individuals and organizations are rigorously combating poverty by addressing its fundamental roots. Our friends at the Fabretto Foundation are actively working to break the cycle of poverty through holistic education programs for school-age children. In their own words:
“Fabretto’s mission is to empower underserved children, youth, and their families in Nicaragua to reach their full potential, improve their livelihoods, and take advantage of economic opportunity through education.”
In 2020 alone, more than 8,000 children were enrolled in Fabretto’s Core Programs and more than 42,000 children benefited from partnership programs. These partnerships include accessing food security and crop restoration, assessing educational technologies, and English language training, while Fabretto’s Core Programs focus on providing children with early childhood, primary, and technical education via education centers located in rural communities.
Though the coronavirus drastically altered the potential of education in the last year, Fabretto adapted to the situation by providing at-home education through tablet-lending programs which allowed for online education, while also providing physical handouts each day for students who did not have access to the internet or tablets. Despite all the difficulties Fabretto managed to retain an astonishing 93% of students enrolled which is beyond extraordinary. Their ability to adapt and remain resilient in the face of such monstrous adversity is truly moving.
It’s with such honor and enthusiasm that we are finally able to announce that Utopian is highlighting a new aspect of Fabretto’s work: Coffee Farming.
Established in 2011, Fabretto Enterprises is a commercial for-profit business wing of the larger Fabretto organization that is focusing on creating access to markets for farmers. Despite coffee cultivation providing nearly one-third of all rural employment, Nicaraguan coffee farmers continue to have some of the lowest yields and profits in all of Latin America. For many coffee farmers, the barriers restricting their ability to sell coffee at profitable prices seem insurmountable. The story is the same in nearly every coffee-producing nation: a lack of initial knowledge and resources paired with the remoteness of farms and an inability to access global markets keeps coffee farmers from finding outlets and avenues where the quality of their coffee can ever be actualized.
Fabretto is addressing these challenges one by one, creating sustainable partnerships with coffee farmers and providing the initial funds, education, and resources needed to create competitive high-quality coffee. Additionally, Fabretto has overseen many of the most difficult steps of coffee production, such as transportation, milling, and sales. Through their global networks, Fabretto is now able to connect remote farming communities directly with roasters like Utopian who are seeking meaningful and sustainable coffee sourcing relationships.
What’s amazing was Fabretto’s ability to deliver a truly delicious Nicaraguan coffee. Fabretto’s coffee team includes trained agronomists and coffee professionals whose combined experience and skills have resulted in what we would consider is a premier example of the distinct flavor profile only found in Nicaragua:
In the cup, expect a mixture of chocolate and almond flavors with bright citrus, apple, and cranberry tones in the finish.
This past year we tasted several different varieties of coffees from Fabretto and found one particular variety, Caturra, presented the flavors we believed to display the special and distinct qualities of Nicaraguan coffee. Caturra is one of the heirloom varieties still found throughout Latin and South America. At one point Caturra was considered the “gold standard” of coffee varieties in this region of the world, and to this day we continue to believe Caturra is an important coffee variety because of the phenomenal flavors we find in the cup. Unfortunately, like most heirloom coffees, Caturra is susceptible to various diseases and pests, making it harder to grow each year. Slowly, Fabretto is introducing new disease and pest resistant hybrid varieties, though in the meantime we plan to continue to purchase as much of the prized Caturra variety as possible, while also lending a hand in how new hybrid varieties can be processed to better reflect similar flavors to those found in heirloom varieties.
Currently, Fabretto Farms works with 64 farmers who are spread out through the Las Sabanas municipality of the Madriz department. Part of Fabretto’s coffee program involves providing coffee farmers with basic, intermediate, and advanced agricultural techniques ranging from soil conservation and fertilization to testing soil and long-term strategies to combat the effects of climate change. At every level, Fabretto is truly paving the way for coffee in Nicaragua, and we are extremely proud to be a sponsor and partner in their efforts.
At Utopian, we are continually striving to create partnerships that go deeper than just coffee. While everyone at Utopian loves coffee, we just so happen to love people even more. The work of Fabretto speaks clearly to our goal of creating ideal coffee for an ideal world.