Nicaraguan Coffee: Everything You Need to Know

Nicaraguan Coffee:

Nicaraguan Coffee offers rich yet delicate flavors. If you haven’t tried brewing your own cup of Nicaraguan coffee now might be the time to give it a try!

Like many other countries in South America, Nicaraguan coffee is fruity with specific citrus notes. Unlike other South American countries, this type of coffee is milder in acidity. The beans grow organically, not purposefully, but simply because of a lack of infrastructure, also common other Central American countries.

Today we are going to explore the rich history of coffee in Nicaragua, the various flavor profiles, and the different ways the beans are traditionally grown.

Growing Regions of Nicaraguan Coffee

Indonesian coffee

Nicaragua, just like other coffee producers in Central and South America, has key geographic characteristics that make it an ideal region for growing coffee. Specifically, Nicaragua has three different regions, which produce different types of coffee and level of quality. The marketability of Nicaraguan coffee depends on each coffee-growing region, so it is worth to take a look at each of them.

The three main Nicaraguan regions for growing coffee are:

  • Segovia Region
  • Jinotega Region
  • Matagalpa Region

Segovia Region

Coffees grown in Nicaragua Segovia (also called “Nueva Segovia”) have a sweetness similar to an almond. Segovia coffee typically grows between 1,000-1,400 meters and is rarely available at the markets.

When drinking Nicaragua Segovian coffee, you should try a medium-dark roast which highlights the Bourbon and Caturra coffees. These both have balanced richness. They make a nice gourmet coffee for your morning drink or simply during leisure or relaxing hours.

Jinotega Region

Jinotega Region is the main region for producing and growing in Nicaragua. This coffee is a respected and loved Nicaraguan coffee.

Jinotega is a market name, the word coming from “xinotencatl”, which can translate to “city of old men” or “neighbors of Jinocuabos.”

Just like Segovia, Jinotega region also produces Bourbon and Caturra coffees, both of which grow between 1,000-1700 meters.

Matagalpa Region

The Matagalpa Region earned its name from its capital city which also happens to be the same name, Matagalpa City. Coffees grown in Matagalpa region are typical of the Bourbon and Caturra variety; growing between 1,000-1,400 meters.

Coffee Plant Varietals of Nicaragua

So far, the most common coffee plant variety that grows in Nicaragua is the coffee plant varietal Bourbon. These coffee beans have a variety of mild flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, pie crust, and pear.

The next, but less common, coffee plant variety is the Caturra. Aside from them, here are other varieties that are grown in Nicaragua:

  • Maracaturra
  • Pacamara
  • Maragogype
  • Catimor
  • Yellow and Red Catuai

Since Nicaragua has a variety of regions for growing coffee, it can produce different coffees for different levels – from low-grade coffees to commodity and specialty coffees. The most prominent coffee-growing regions in Nicaragua are the ones that we discussed above: Segovia, Jinotega, and Matagalpa. But there are less prominent coffee-growing regions as well including:

  • Madriz
  • Managua/Granada
  • Esteli

Flavor Notes and Characteristics of Nicaraguan Coffee

cup of coffee

Here are some of the following key characteristics and flavor notes of the Nicaraguan coffee.

The key characteristics of a good or average Nicaraguan coffee are fruity and mild brightness. This coffee tends to be towards high-toned characteristics such as floral and citrus sensations rather than low-toned sensations such as chocolate, papaya, or apricot.

Generally, the coffees that grow in Nicaragua have the same characteristics as coffee that grows in other Central American regions. However, coffees in Nicaragua tend to be milder in acidity levels as opposed to most coffees in Central America. When it comes to processing, most Nicaraguan farmers use wet processing or washed processing method, which brings out these flavors.

While most Nicaraguan coffee is typically not Organic Certified, much of their coffee ends up being organic. Due to the lack of funding and equipment, most coffees grow organically.

Nicaragua’s most common coffee grows in lower elevations, but some grow in the higher elevations, changing the flavor profile altogether.

Coffee Exports in Nicaragua

Unlike other South and Central American coffee-producing countries, Nicaragua’s coffee industry faced difficulties in their trade and exports as early as the mid-1800s. This is primarily because of the whirlpool of high and low demand, so sales also go up and down.

In recent decades, the coffee industry of Nicaragua faced hindrance due to the civil war, destructive hurricanes, and more devastating events. The United States also banned Nicaraguan import during the Cold War which also impacted trade.

However, Nicaraguan coffee will not give up. In fact, they are beginning to make a comeback to their former glory, even though it will be a slow process. Today, Nicaraguan coffee is graded based on the altitude on which it was grown to ensure the coffee’s quality.

History of Nicaraguan Coffee

coffee origins

Commercializing and large-scale coffee farming began in the 1850s and eventually becoming the main export crop in 1870. Coffee will become Nicaragua’s main export crop for decades to come.

But, as mentioned above, the 1800s is a struggling and difficult time for Nicaragua’s coffee industry. Aside from shaky demand-and-supply and other factors, the process of growing coffee itself is difficult, which apparently adds to the already struggling industry. Also, due to the difficult terrain that some Nicaraguan coffee grows in, transporting the beans to the market created problems as well.

This struggle and trend will go on for decades to come, however, the coffee industry will never cease. In 1992, more land was allotted for farming coffee than of any other crop to help boost the coffee industry. This somehow helped in slowly boosting and rejuvenating the coffee industry of Nicaragua.

Despite struggling, coffee remained a principal product of Nicaragua, which is why they strive to push and improve it. One way they do it, as also mentioned earlier, is labeling their coffee based on the terrain it was grown – as it can determine the coffee’s quality and grade.

Try It Out — Nicaraguan Coffee

If you haven’t given Nicaraguan coffee a try, nows the time! This latte is perfect for summer but also satisfies year-round. This cashew milk pairs perfectly with the flavor profile of Nicaraguan coffee, bringing out the citrus flavors. If you want to check out more of our recipes you can find “Healthy Coffee Recipes” HERE.

Ingredients →

  • 1 cup of Nicaraguan coffee
  • ½ cup of cashew milk
  • 1 tbsp sugar

How to make it →

  • Brew one cup of coffee by however method you prefer
  • Froth cashew milk until a couple of inches of foam appears
  • Pour milk gently into the cup, and add the sugar.
  • Enjoy!

After learning everything there is to know about Nicaraguan coffee, do you think its time to give the roast a try? Shop our Nicaraguan coffee HERE.

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