Nicaraguan Coffee Guide

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Nicaraguan coffee is known for its rich flavour, and the country is one of the most highly-regarded coffee producers in the world.

In this post, we cover everything you need to know about Nicaraguan coffee.

Nicaraguan coffee varieties

Nicaraguan coffee varieties primarily consist of Arabica varieties.

The best known, Caturra, is actually a dwarf mutation of Bourbon, which lends its name to several other countries’ coffees (e.g., Burundian Bourbon) that derive from it.

Other varieties include:

  • Pacamara,
  • Maragogype,
  • Maracaturra,
  • Cutaui, and
  • Catimor.

What makes Nicaraguan coffee special?

Nicaraguan coffees have a generally mild and sweet taste with a smooth, balanced body.

This is partly due to the high altitudes at which Nicaraguan coffee is grown, which in turn gives the beans a greater density.

The soil of Nicaragua also has an effect on the flavour of Nicaraguan coffee: because many parts of Nicaragua are located near volcanoes, the soil is rich in minerals and nutrients that can’t be found in the lowlands.

This gives Nicaraguan coffees definitive flavour profiles that make them so popular.

Altitude & climate

Altitude and Climate are key to making the best coffee possible. Nicaragua’s climate is ideal for cultivating good quality Arabica beans because of the high elevations.

The North Central region of Nicaragua, where you’ll find the best coffee in the country, has an elevation of around 1,000m – 1,600m above sea level. Coffee beans grown at these altitudes meet the Strictly High Grown coffee specifications.

This gives this area a perfect climate for growing specialty grade Arabica beans with intense flavours.

What does Nicaraguan coffee taste like?

Nicaraguan coffee is a staple of Central American coffee. The coffee found in this country is described as complex with a rich flavour of caramel that is followed by a touch of citrus.

It’s known for its low acidity, full body and complex flavour notes.

Nicaraguan coffee can be sweet, with a nutty flavour and these are accentuated by chocolate, caramel, citrus and vanilla notes.

Is Nicaragua coffee good for espresso?

Nicaragua produces a wide variety of flavours in its coffees. Most notable are its sweet and rich flavours with a medium body and soft chocolatey aftertaste.

Medium to dark roasted Nicaraguan coffee is well suited for espresso, while lighter roasts are suited to other methods that typically favour single origin beans, like pour-overs.

When is Nicaraguan coffee harvested?

November through March is the dry season in Nicaragua, and this is when most of the coffee harvest takes place.

During this time of year, coffee trees have a bounty of red and ripe coffee cherries, which are picked by hand for quality.

Because Nicaraguan coffee grows at relatively low altitudes in rich, volcanic soil, these trees produce large beans with a high level of sweetness and depth.

How is Nicaraguan coffee processed?

The washed process is the most popular processing method in Nicaragua.

Washed coffee processing results in a clean flavour profile.

This method of coffee production removes the cherry from the coffee bean and also removes most of the mucilage.

Other processing methods include natural or dry processed.