5 Reasons Why Nicaraguan Coffee Is The Best


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Even if you’re a big coffee lover, chances are you’ve never tasted Nicaraguan coffee. Despite a long history of coffee production and the country’s remarkable resilience in the market, Nicaragua isn’t particularly known for its coffee, even among those who’d consider themselves seasoned coffee aficionados.

Largely this is because while Nicaraguan coffee production is resilient and yields great beans, it’s just not… big enough. In fact, Nicaragua isn’t even in the top-10 of world coffee producers when it comes to total coffee yields. In 2021, it “only” produced 2.9 million 60kg bags, landing on 12th spot.

But the demand for Nicaraguan coffee is growing as more and more specialty coffee roasteries start taking notice and adding it as an offer to their consumers. 

In this article, we’ll provide 5 reasons why Nicaraguan coffee is the best and you should definitely order a cup at your local specialty coffee shop ASAP, if you’ve yet to have a taste of it.

Growing Green for ECOM: Sustainability profits Nicaragua's coffee farmers

1. Quality over quantity attitude

With coffee export being one of the major parts of Nicaraguan economy, a lot of energy is being put to ensure that the product that goes out is able to compete with exports from other countries.

And since there’s no chance to compete with giants like Brazil and Vietnam in sheer volume of beans, Nicaragua has adopted the quality over quantity attitude, aiming to appease specialty coffee roasteries and consumers.

The vast majority of beans grown in Nicaragua are Arabica, which is already the most sought-after coffee bean in the world. But with Nicaraguan coffee production being huge for the country – yet comparatively small to its competitors in the worldwide coffee market – great attention is paid to the growth and processing of these beans to yield best results. 

Nicaragua has compulsory technical standards for both Green Coffee and Commercial Grains sampling, with the results deciding if CONACAFE will grant the quality certificate identifying best Nicaraguan coffee.

2. Variety of production regions

Coffee being grown in several different regions of a country with large coffee production sector doesn’t sound like anything special, but it might just be the case in Nicaragua.

Because the regions where coffee is grown influence the variety in flavor profiles, and that’s particularly notable when it comes to Nicaraguan coffee. 

Nicaragua has 3 major coffee producing regions, with each of them providing specific flavor, aroma, and body attributes to the beans grown there:

Nueva Segovia

Known, perhaps, as the one that grows coffee that true aficionados are after most often. However, unlike the other two, you’re going to have some trouble finding it (which undoubtedly makes it all the more exciting).

While not as big as other regions, Nueva Segovia produces some of the best coffee in Nicaragua, known for its complex and unique flavor profile often not encountered in coffee from other countries.

Matagalpa

Matagalpa coffee is what you’re likely to be offered, if you highlight that you’re looking for the best quality Nicaraguan coffee.

The region with its rich volcanic soil, tropical climate, and high altitude might seem as it’s been created specifically to grow coffee. Environment in Matagalpa makes growing high-quality beans comparatively easy, though the scope of production stays limited compared to Jinotega.

Jinotega

Jinotega is the “coffee capital” of Nicaragua. If you’ve ever tasted Nicaraguan coffee, it was probably from Jinotega.

Same as Matagalpa, it has a climate that supports abundant coffee growth and farmers here have capitalized on it successfully. Jinotega specializes on Caturra and Bourbon Arabica varietals, which are known for unique complex flavor, and lasting aftertaste.

3. Smooth body, with perfect acidity levels

All these regions grow coffee at altitudes between 1,100 and 1,700 meters, with altitude playing a large part in its acidity level and profile, letting the coffee ripen slower, with sugars having the time to ferment and be absorbed by the bean.

Nicaraguan coffee is known to be not particularly acidic, landing to resulting brews having bright, crisp taste, with acidity not overpowering the more subtle notes of its flavor profile. 

It works perfectly fine both on its own, and in milk-based drinks as well – never losing clear coffee flavor of the drink.

4. Complex, well-balanced taste with unique notes

The diversity of production regions, yields interesting diversity in tastes as well. Most Nicaraguan coffee has complex taste with unique notes – with each production region providing specific characteristics.

  • Coffee grown in Nueva Segovia, for example, is known for having nutty sweetness, somewhat reminiscent of nougat, and fruity overtones, with a more subtle chocolaty undertone. 
  • Matagalpa coffee is known for more caramel notes and chocolaty sweetness, but with clear hints of citrusy aroma.
  • Jinotega also swerves towards lighter chocolate sweetness with crisp, fruity notes. 

If you know your coffee, then you know that this lightens, with clear fruity and citrusy notes are comparatively rare for coffee produced in South America. Coffee produced in Honduras, or Costa Rica, for example, is more likely to swerve towards full-body, rich, chocolaty flavors.

And if this doesn’t sound exciting enough for you, Nicaragua is also the home of Elephant Beans (Arabica varietal Maragogype). It’s one of the rarest varietals – and highly sought after by coffee lovers. 

5. Organic, environment-friendly production

About 95% of Nicaraguan coffee is grown by independent farmers (most of whom are members of fair-trade cooperatives) using shade-growth method. It means coffee grows under a tree canopy, and that canopy acts as organic, environment-friendly fertilizer and herbicide.

Nicaraguan coffee farms usually have no trouble to get approved for organic certification.

Summing Up

Nicaraguan Coffee isn’t as common on specialty market as Brazil, Ethiopia, or Columbia due to less production size – but it has rightfully curved out a solid place for itself, and the number of its fans is only likely to go, as more specialty coffee shops start offering 

Nicaraguan coffee means high-quality arabica beans that are organically produced in an environmentally-friendly way, are fairly traded and provide well-balanced, smooth coffee, with full flavor profile with complex undertones (that somewhat differ depending on the region the coffee was grown), and great aftertaste.

It’s not just that Nicaraguan coffee has all the features quality specialty coffee is required to have. It’s that it combines these features into a unique product and offers prospective consumers experience distinctive of all others. 

And that’s why Nicaraguan Coffee is the best (or, at the very least, up there).

Like this article? You might to read: A Comprehensive Guide to Ugandan Specialty Coffee Production