Typically mild and complex in flavor, Nicaragua Coffee is a well-rounded gourmet coffee you can enjoy throughout the day. Depending on the region in Nicaragua the coffee is grown, you can expect sweet, nutty and chocolate notes or delightful pear, citrus and floral notes entwined with a mild yet bright acidity.
Recommended Nicaragua Coffee
- Country of Origin – Nicaragua, Central America
- Regions – Jinotega, Matagalpa, Segovia
- Best Known Growers – Soppexcca cooperative, Gold Mountain Coffee Growers, Las Diosas, CECOCAFEN
- Altitude – 1,100 to 1,600 meters
- Harvest – October to March
- Milling Process – naturally fermented, washed and sun-dried
- Aroma – rich, light, slightly sweet and floral
- Flavor – complex yet light with subtle chocolate, citrus and nut notes
- Body – medium but well-rounded
- Acidity – mild, bright and pleasant
- Certification – Organic, Direct Trade available.
About Nicaraguan Coffee
Nicaragua is fairly new to the coffee growing scene compared to neighboring Central American countries. Arabica coffee was introduced here in the 1800s and it’s had quite a rocky start over the past few centuries. Through hurricanes and earthquakes to political unrest and trouble exporting (largely due to the Cold War), the coffee industry has been struggling.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, the coffee industry in Nicaragua has finally covered some ground in the past few decades and you’ll now find Nicaraguan coffee readily available to purchase in the US.
There are also some fantastic specialty beans grown in Nicaragua, including elephant beans and Nicaragua Pacamara beans that grow extraordinarily large. If you have the chance to try these, do! You’ll be making many Coffee Dorks green with envy.
Our recommended bean is most likely harvested from the Jinotega region, the largest growing region in Nicaragua. Coffee grown here is predominate of Bourbon variety and features well-rounded sweet flavors with a deep complexity. You’ll also be able to detect fruity notes, as many of the coffee estates grow shade-grown beans directly under the leaves of mango and banana trees.
Medium to dark roasts are best for this bean to brighten the acidity and allow the flavors to develop in complexity. With a light roast, you will find the flavors too subtle.
About the Region
Nicaragua is geographically sandwiched between Honduras to the North and Costa Rica to the South. As you would imagine, the coffee grown here experiences that same tropical climate with a sea-breeze and moderately constant rainfall that other countries in Central America experience.
Elevations from 1,100 to 1,600 meters (and a few specialty coffee estates growing at even higher heights) ensure warm, humid days in the jungle environment with cooler nights and frequent rainfall. The soil here is fertile and volcanic – very few coffee growers will add any kind of fertilizer, organic or otherwise.
The coffee industry in Nicaragua is fairly undeveloped in the sense that the government isn’t investing in farmers in the way you’ll see in Honduras. Instead, it is left to the small farms (that make up 95% of the coffee growers in Nicaragua) to grow, harvest, process and transport the beans. The result of this is a highly organic, shade grown bean that’s processed as simply as possible. So, while you may struggle to find Organic and shade grown certifications, you can be fairly confident that your coffee has been grown organically and at least partially shaded regardless.
Nicaragua coffee makes for a good quality brew with an interesting mix of complex flavors that any aspiring coffee connoisseur should be able to pick out and enjoy. While coffees grown here aren’t yet world-class, they are certainly worth trying and make for an interesting break from your usual go-to coffee!
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.