I’ve been carrying and pushing Nicaragua Selva Negra Estate coffee for the past couple years, and it’s still the standard bearer of Nicaraguan coffee. But what happened is that Selva Negra Estate has made enough of a reputation for itself that its name alone now carries a generous premium. And here's a confession: Nicaraguan coffee all tastes really similar to me, and all of it is boring. I don't care if it's from Matagalpa or Jinotega, I don't care if its an Estate coffee, or a co-op coffee -- I won't hate it, and I won't love it -- as long as it is high altitude organically grown coffee, it's really all about the same, and I mostly add flavoring to Nicaraguan coffee anyway, so I went for a cheap one this year.
Nicaraguan coffee has more body than most Central Americans, and less acidity. It is smooth, pleasant, a little bit citrus in lighter roasts, but with a clean aftertaste. A little bit nutty/cocoa in medium roasts. Gets a little bit thinner in dark roasts, but it's not bad by any means. It won't wow anybody, but it doesn't have defects in the taste.
Rio Coco is a remote land in Jinotega on the central-east border., The Agribusiness Cooperative is trying to build it up, give the residents there a better livelihood. There is no other means of outside income/jobs other than growing coffee. The coffee does have organic and fair trade certification. There are only 4 telephone lines in the whole region. The literacy rate is hovering around 50%.
The lack of complexity and acidity makes it a fantastic choice for adding flavoring to. Roast the bean just to the end of the 1st cracks, around 400 degrees, and add the flavoring of your choice. Nicaragua is a coffee that I use as a base for flavorings, because there aren't many undertones competing with the flavoring, and there isn't an earthy aftertaste or much acidity to detract from the flavor I'm creating on top of it.
It’s also a bean that will appeal to just about any coffee drinker because there’s no biting acidity, earthiness, or weird tastes that may turn off certain people. For a single origin brew, choose your personal preference of anywhere from a Full City (407 degrees?) up to a Full City+ (418 degrees?) It's certainly a step up from the average Colombia, although not as nice as say, a Costa Rica.
Because it’s a high-altitude washed process coffee, it’s an excellent choice for French Roast, and you can take it a good 50 seconds into rolling second cracks, to around 444 degrees.
USA arrival July 2015
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