Nicaraguan beans are a rare offering on Sagebrushcoffee.com, but when we do have them available they are always a special treat. Incredibly versatile in flavor, many Nicaraguan coffees are known to have a mild, fruity brightness while some offer nutty notes with vanilla and chocolate flavors. Its prime location nuzzled between Costa Rica and Honduras provides perfect climate conditions for growing different coffee plant varietals. Although they share many of the same characteristics as other Central American coffees, the coffee beans from Nicaragua tend to have milder acidity levels.
Nicaragua's coffee culture had many ups and downs before it became successful in the coffee harvesting and trading community. In 1970, coffee was brought to Nicaragua for the first time by Catholic missionaries, and it was initially only grown out of curiosity. It was not until 1840 that coffee gained economic significance due to global demand for it. 1840-1940 was known as the "Coffee Boom," and by 1870, coffee became the principal export crop. In the early 20th century, Nicaragua's coffee industry took a huge hit when the former dictatorship was overthrown, and communism was introduced. As a result, coffee mills were targeted and sabotaged, and the coffee prices continued to collapse from 1992-2003. In the midst of economic chaos, Hurricane Mitch blew across Nicaragua in 1998, causing the prices to drop even lower.
Things are finally looking up for Nicaraguan coffee as it is reestablishing its rank in the coffee world. Over the past ten years, the quality and traceability of the coffee beans have improved exponentially. Instead of just mill brands, you are now able to trace coffees from single estates and producer cooperatives.
The Nicaraguan coffee that we had available in our shop was from the Limoncillo Farm in the Matagalpa region, owned by the Mierisch family. The farm is named for the populous amounts of lemon trees initially discovered there. It consists of 171 hectares and includes immense forest coverage. The abundant amount of shade allows for prime growing conditions. Limoncillo was awarded 2nd place in the 2008 Cup of Excellence and is UTZ certified. This certification means that they focus on sustainable farming, improved worker conditions, and training in beneficial agricultural practices. I am excited to have Nicaraguan coffee back in the shop and especially proud to be supporting a farm that cares for their workers and the environment.