Coffee was first planted in Nicaragua in the late 1800s but it was the emergence of the first large plantations together with increasing worldwide demand in the mid-19th century that established coffee as an important export. Initially established in Managua, the plantations quickly spread to Jinotepe, Matagalpa, Jinotega and Nueva Segovia. Enticed by the Nicaraguan government, European immigrants acquired large tracts of land for plantations, often exploiting local labor with poor conditions and low wages.
The Nicaraguan Revolutionary period (1974 - 1990) created political and economic instability for the region, suppressing the growth of specialty coffee at a time when neighboring countries of Costa Rica and El Salvador were flourishing. The breaking up of larger estates into smallholder plots during the 1980s and 1990s created confusion for the coffee industry although organizations such as USAID and Fair Trade helped local producers to establish cooperatives and societies.
Despite having been planted with varieties that typically perform well, the low altitudes, remoteness of small farms, and challenges with coffee-leaf rust have hampered the region from fulfilling its potential but remains a origin of potential to be closely watched.
Jinotega, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia
Bourbon, Catuai, Catimor, Caturra, Maracaturra, Maragogype
October – March