Coffee was first brought to Nicaragua in the late 1700s but it wasn’t until 1870 that it became the country’s main export. The government strived to bring foreign investors into the country as part of an effort to make trade easier, unfortunately the result of this was that much of the money made from coffee production ended up leaving the country due to the large amount of land owned by foreigners. Nicaragua therefore did not enjoy the same effects of coffee production with regards to investment in infrastructure and it remains to be the second poorest country in Central America after Haiti.
The coffee industry in Nicaragua has undergone periods of turmoil that have hindered the development of the speciality sector in the country. Many experienced coffee farmers fled during the years under Sandinista rule of the late 1970s to the 1990s. When the political scene changed, those farmers returned and not long after, Nicaragua started to produce some very good coffee. However, the devastating effects of Hurricane Mitch and the prolonged world coffee price crisis created further giant -sized hurdles for a country that can, and now does, produce some very desirable coffees indeed.
Key growing regions include the mountainous regions of Matagalpa and Jinotega though it is Nueva Segovia that is heralded as Nicaragua’s premier growing region, particularly the Cordillera de Dipilto – Jalapa – a mountainous region which runs along the Honduran border. Time after time it is this region which is responsible for some of the country’s best lots, often placing highly in the Cup of Excellence competitions.