I’ve heard it said that, in Nicaragua, everybody is a poet until proven otherwise. While I can certainly appreciate the value of great poetry, it’s certainly can’t provide a backbone for a country’s economy. Thankfully for Nicaragua, their economy can rely on great coffee.Nicaragua is undergoing a specialty coffee boom.It’s the biggest (and most positive) revolution to sweep through the jungles of this Central American country and has become the country’s most valuable and reliable commodity for foreign exchange.
For me, Nicaragua is a region that has shown incremental growth and signs of improvement over the past several years. What was often regarded as the region for that “classic, smooth breakfast coffee” is becoming (and has become) the region for really exciting and diverse cups.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Nicaragua Bella Aurora, from Bluebeard Coffee Roasters in Tacoma, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Joaquin Augusto Lovo Lopez is the winning producer. The Bella Villa Aurora is located in the municipality of Dipilto at an average altitude of 1400 meters or 4600 feet. This family farm began 50 years ago and today prides itself on being environmentally friendly. The farm began with three acres but has grown over the year to fifty. All of the production is Caturra varietal and all under the shade of Musacea, Guava or Vase trees. The farm is family owned and operated. Joaquin attributes the success of this coffee to the farm’s excellent climate and soil conditions and throughout Dipilto. He makes certain that only ripe cherry is harvested and processing is completed completed. The farm operates its own wetmill.
Fifty years of coffee growing experience contributed to Finca Bella Aurora achieving a 6th place finish in this years’ Nicaragua Cup of Excellence competition. The expertise of coffee farmer Joaquin Lovo was evident in the final top ten cupping event judged by coffee professionals from around the world.
This was the third time that Finca Bella Aurora has been selected as a Cup of Excellence coffee which is evidence of the care and attention Joaquin has placed in his coffee. From the selection of perfectly ripe coffee cherries on through the depulping and fermentation to remove residue from the bean, to the final drying and sorting each step of the way is carefully managed.
origin: Dipilto, Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua
farm: Finca Bella Aurora
elevation: 1400 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Fair Trade
The aroma from this coffee is thick and hangs heavy in the air, completely filling the space between the cup and the nose with floral aromatics and notes of honey, graham cracker, apple, and fig.
Up front, this is a pretty gentle cup. Almost delicate. Fig and cherry blossoms are the first flavors that come to mind when I take these first few sips, with a gentle push of hibiscus and raw cocoa nibs following closely behind. Everything comes slowly streaming out of the cup on a thick bed of molasses, each sip finishing off with a smack of walnut.
But, what’s this?
The cup cools off into an outright explosion of tropicalia—what was a classic, straightforward coffee is now a bright and lively conga line of massively juicy and exotic fruit flavors. Peach, plum, apricot, mandarin, mango, red apple, melon, honey, lemon grass, and a very potent, very zesty grapefruit acidity.
Medium body; syrupy mouthfeel; grapefruit acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
Dynamic, rich, and complex are descriptors that hardly do this cup justice.
The Nicaragua Bella Aurora, from Bluebeard Coffee Roasters, is certainly the most exciting and liveliest cups I’ve had from Nicaragua… maybe ever. Sure, I’ve had coffees from there that were delicious, that had a few interesting things going on for them, but certainly none that were this flavorful, that had this much sparkle and zest, that were this unique.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.