Coffee is a very important crop in Nicaragua because it’s one of the largest exports of the country, which greatly impacts its economy.
Located between Honduras and Costa Rica in Central America, Nicaragua has fertile, volcanic soils and mountainous regions that create perfect conditions for coffee plants to thrive.
Nicaragua’s tropical environment creates coffee beans with bright notes and chocolate undertones that give you a smooth and clean cup of coffee.
Continue reading to learn more about Nicaraguan coffee and popular brands to choose from!
- Café Las Flores – Grandes Cosechas
- Gobena Coffee – Organic Nicaraguan
- Fresh Roasted Coffee – Organic Nicaragua
- Tiny Footprint Coffee – Nicaragua Segovia
- Good as Gold Coffee Roasters – Nicaragua
Everything You Need to Know About Nicaraguan Coffee
The complex flavors of Nicaraguan Coffee brands are highly dependent upon where the coffee beans are grown.
We’re here to help you learn more about Nicaraguan coffee, its benefits, what to look for when buying it, and give you some suggestions.
Where Is Nicaraguan Coffee Grown?
Nicaragua is located between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator, which makes it a prime spot for coffee plants to flourish.
Countries located within 25 degrees north of the Equator and 30 degrees south sit in a zone known as the “Bean Belt”. This zone hosts the most ideal conditions for coffee plants to be grown and harvested.
Most of Nicaragua’s coffee bean supply comes from the North Central, northeastern, and northwestern regions, specifically in the following areas:
- Nueva Segovia
If you’re looking for Nicaraguan coffee, you will most likely find that the beans are from these three cities.
Benefits of Nicaraguan Coffee
Coffee beans from Nicaragua come with many benefits, mostly relating to where they are grown and how they’re processed. There are several environmental factors that affect the taste of coffee beans. Some of these factors include:
- Type of soil
Nicaragua has mountainous regions with volcanic soil and a tropical climate. All of these factors contribute to the great citrusy, acidic, and smooth-bodied taste of Nicaraguan coffee.
If you’re a big fan of coffee with bright citrus notes and chocolate undertones, you might really enjoy Nicaraguan coffee.
Another great benefit of Nicaraguan coffee is the way the beans are processed and dried. Most Nicaraguan coffee farms use the wet method, or wet washing, to process the beans. This method can be more beneficial than the dry processing method for a number of reasons, such as:
- Ripe beans sink to the bottom and unripe beans float to the top
- Results in a cleaner cup of coffee that brings out the bright, floral flavor notes
- Beans are generally sun-dried after wet washing
Since many coffee farms in Nicaragua use the wet washing method, the batch of beans might be better because farmers are able to easily separate the good beans from the bad. The drying method is also more harsh on the beans, which brings out a more wild taste.
Sun-drying is the most common method used for drying beans in Nicaragua. The beans are left in the cherry casing longer when sun-dried, which preserves those bright notes better than other drying methods.
What to Look for When Buying Nicaraguan Coffee?
There are a few things to keep an eye out for when deciding what kind of Nicaraguan coffee brand you want to try.
Most coffee beans from Nicaragua are 100% Arabica beans. Robusta beans are grown in some parts of the country, but Arabica beans dominate the prominent coffee-growing regions.
Nicaragua is a perfect place for the high-grown environment that Arabica beans thrive in. Most coffee farms in Nicaragua grow coffee plants at elevations between 265 m (870 ft) and 1,500 m (4,921 ft) above sea level.
The best Arabica beans are grown between 610 m (2,000 ft) and 1,829 m (6,000 ft), according to the National Coffee Association.
Some Nicaraguan coffee brands label the altitude at which the beans are grown at. Higher altitude beans will most likely be 100% Arabica, while low-altitude beans might be Robusta or blended.
Low-altitude beans may also not be as high of quality and generally have less complex flavors. Common Arabica bean varieties you’ll see in Nicaraguan beans are bourbon, catuai, and maragogype.
The best time to seek out coffee beans from Nicaragua would be between December and April because harvesting season generally takes place between October and February.
What Kind of Roast Is Best for Nicaraguan Coffee?
Nicaraguan coffee is very versatile in terms of roasting. Light roasts really bring out the natural brightness of Nicaraguan coffee beans.
If you’re looking to enjoy a cup of coffee that concentrates more on the origin of the beans, a light roast may be a great option for you.
Since much of Nicaragua’s coffee supply consists of Arabica beans, they will be more acidic than Robusta beans found at lower altitudes. Medium to dark roasts is great for diminishing some of that acidity.
If you’re not too keen on acidic coffee, a medium to dark roast may work better for you.
Arabica beans don’t contain as much caffeine as Robusta beans. If you’re looking for a Nicaraguan espresso roast, Robusta beans may be the way to go if you want beans with more caffeine.
Espresso roasts have a more intense and bitter flavor, which could help draw out some of the acidity you get from the citrusy flavors of Nicaraguan coffee beans.
Choosing the right roast of Nicaraguan coffee ultimately depends on your own preference for the drink.
If you want to taste the brighter floral notes of Nicaraguan coffee more, try a lighter roast. If you want to avoid some of the acidity you get from Arabica beans and like more intense and bitter flavors, a darker roast may be better.
Medium roasts are a happy in-between. If you’re not so sure what kind of roast would please your coffee palette best, a medium roast is a good place to start.
5 Nicaraguan Coffee Brands to Try
1. Café Las Flores – Grandes Cosechas
- Bold flavor
- Smooth body
- Well-balanced acidity
- Slightly bitter
Café Las Flores Grandes Cosechas is a gourmet medium roast coffee made from 100% Arabica coffee beans sourced from Matagalpa and Jinotega.
The Arabica coffee cherries are grown at an altitude of 1,200 m (3,937 ft) and up. This is a great option if you want a well-balanced cup of coffee with a hint of chocolate flavor.
2. Gobena Coffee – Organic Nicaraguan
- Roasted, ground, and packed on the same day
- Organic and fair trade certified
- Smooth flavor
- Lacks intensity
- A little pricey
Gobena Coffee offers Organic Nicaraguan coffee sourced from small family farms in the Jinotega region of Nicaragua. These 100% Arabica specialty coffee beans are roasted in small batches to bring out a well-balanced cup of coffee with brown sugar, plum, and chocolate notes.
If you’re looking for a smooth, less intense dark roast with sweeter notes, this might be a great option for you.
3. Fresh Roasted Coffee – Organic Nicaragua
- Organic, fair trade, and kosher certified
- Several size and grind options
- Light acidity
- Bold, rich flavor
- Some bitterness
Organic Nicaragua coffee produced by Fresh Roasted Coffee is a great option for those looking for coffee beans that aren’t too high in acidity. This medium roast coffee is mild-bodied, with flavor notes of walnut, cocoa, and citrusy lemon.
The Arabica beans include varieties of bourbon, caturra, catuai, catimor, and maragogype. The beans are harvested in Matagalpa between November and March, and fully washed and patio sun-dried.
4. Tiny Footprint Coffee – Nicaragua Segovia
- Chocolate and nutty flavor
- Carbon negative
- Weak flavor for a dark roast
Grown at high elevations in the northwestern region of Nueva Segovia and surrounding areas, Tiny Footprint Coffee Nicaragua Segovia is a dark roast with hints of lemon, apricot, and spice.
If you like a dark roast that comes with bold and intense flavors, this may not be the best option. This dark roast may be better for those who want a medium-dark roast, as the flavors of these beans are not as strong as other dark roasted beans.
5. Good as Gold Coffee Roasters – Nicaragua
- Well-balanced flavor profile
- Air-roasted for clean and even roasting
- Bag includes roast date
- Slightly acidic
Good as Gold’s Nicaraguan coffee is a medium roast with sweet flavor notes and air roasted to bring out its bright flavor. If you’re a fan of coffee with a little mix of everything, you might really enjoy these coffee beans.
Some of its highlighted flavor notes include caramel, dark chocolate, honey, and green apple. It’s suggested to grind the beans as close to brewing as possible to get the best flavor out of the beans.
Final Thoughts on Nicaraguan Coffee Brands
If you’re looking for a Nicaraguan coffee brand that really brings out the natural flavors of the region and produces a high-quality coffee overall, Good as Gold’s Nicaraguan coffee beans take the cake.
It brings the citrus flavor profiles that Nicaragua is most known for while giving you smooth caramel and chocolate notes to balance out the acidity
Nicaragua offers some pretty unique and distinctive flavors through its Arabica beans grown in high-altitude environments. Some things you can expect in Nicaraguan coffee include:
- Citrusy flavors with hints of chocolate
- Smooth-bodied cup of coffee
- Arabica beans with bourbon, catuai, and maragogype varietals
- High-altitude grown beans that are wet-washed and sun-dried
Robusta beans are not nearly as common, but they are still grown in Nicaragua as well. These beans are usually found in Nicaragua coffee blends. They are a great option if you don’t want as much acidity in your beans.