“If you love coffee, mountains and urbanity, then you can have your cake and eat it in Matagalpa, a town where for decades an ever increasing number of Liberal coffee patriarchs and subsistence Sandinista farmers have rubbed shoulders during city festivals and at market.” Excerpt from Lonely Planet Guide to Central America.
How could I visit Nicaragua without taking in a coffee farm. I was keen to know how production techniques in Nicaragua compared to those in Colombia. I also wanted to find out if there were any differences in the final product. Both countries grow Arabica coffee.
La Hammonia Farm and Selva Negra Coffee Estate.
In the 1880’s the Nicaraguan government invited young German immigrants to come and settle in Nicaragua in order to promote coffee harvest in the northern highlands. Many young immigrants accepted the offer, thus forming the main coffee plantations of the Nicaragua, many of which bear the names of the immigrant’s motherland. Selva Negra’s coffee farm is called Hammonia, Latin for Hamburg, which was the hometown of a certain Hans Bösche, a German immigrant, who first settled the land.
The Selva Negra Estate has been exporting quality old style Arabica coffee, with the tradition of shaded coffee, since 1890. The owners claim that their coffee is better than Colombian because theirs is slower growing.
The estate is also committed to ecological agriculture and sustainability. 300 acres of the estate contains a vast virgin rain forest. Eddy Kühl and Mausi Hayn, descendants of the original German Immigrants, demonstrate their dedication with the use of organic fertilizer to the innovative use of coffee by-products to produce methane gas for cooking.
The farm has a healthy range of animals including, cows, pigs, chickens, and earthworms. It also grows a wide range of vegetables. Everything produced on the farm is used in the visitor centre restaurant.
Nicaraguan coffee is indeed very good but I’m not sure I could tell the difference between Nicaraguan and Colombian!