Nicaraguan coffees have a wide range of flavor attributes. Some cup like Mexican coffees from Oaxaca, others have a more pronounced acidity. Some are mildly citrusy and bright, such as the coffees of Dipilto in Nueva Segovia department. The botanical cultivars utilized are traditional: Typica, some Bourbon and Maragogype dominate, along with Caturra and Pacas. There is some of the less desirable Catimor varietal, but many farms removed it after the “catimor craze” 10-20 years ago passed.
When in season, we offer some new “exotic” cultivars too: A Pacamara, a “Java” cultivar and the large bean Maragogype. Pulp Natural process is also a variation that gives the cup great body and a slightly rustic fruited layer. It seems that many of the growers in Nicaragua, sensing that the value of their Caturra coffees reaches a certain ceiling and rises no further, are trying many combinations of coffee variety and processing to command higher prices. We value the approachable sweetness and restraint of wet-processed old-style varietals like Bourbon and Typica, and their offspring like Caturra. We feel that an occasional foray into the exotic is fine, but people want to drink these classic coffees more often than unbalanced, one-off, odd coffees. So we like to see growers focus the core of their efforts toward these sweet and elegant coffees, not the flash-in-the-pan varietals or processing experiments.
If you are a fan of a heavy Full City or Vienna roast (in either case, you are letting the 2nd crack start and you stop the roast before it gains its momentum), then you really need to try a Jinotega or Matagalpa Nicaraguan at that roast level. They have enough body to stand up to dark roasts and the great balance and pungent bittersweetness is unparalleled! Roasted to Vienna stage, these coffees can make excellent and unique single-origin espresso.