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Nicaraguan coffee with a German taste

Nicaraguan coffee with a German taste

Red beans, green beans, black beans. Three meters long, one meter wide, a centimeter of five thick: beans wherever I look. This is the harvest of the last few days: Nicaraguan coffee, with a German taste.


I love the smell of coffee, my intestines don’t like the taste of it though. So I keep it with just smelling it. A few years ago I was reorganising the local broadcast station in Tilburg (Omroep Tilburg). It was housed in a damp, smelly building. Every morning I came in, I could smell the fungus. So the first thing I did, was making coffee. The aroma of the coffee would mask the smell for hours.

Here in Nicaragua I live between the coffee plants. They are everywhere. At Mariposa we have them around the premises of the school and in our nature reserve. They produce enough to supply the school, eco-hotel and study center for a whole year. The beans are picked by local workers and students.

The coffee trees grow very well around here and they are all around. Most coffee however is grown in the north of Nicaragua, around Matagalpa. There it is Nicaraguan coffee with a German taste, because the Nicaraguan government promoted ‘coffee immigration’ in the 19th century. Every investor that would plant 25.000 coffee trees would got 350 hectares of land. It brought in more than 200 planters from the US, England, France, Italy and a lot from Germany.

It was also a German who was the pioneer of Nicaraguan coffee: Ludwig Elster: born and raised in Hanover. He settled in Matagalpa with his wife Katharina Braun in 1852 and started a coffee plantation. Germans also brought in the first vehicle (1918) to Nicaragua, the first electric generator (1917), the first movie theatre and  the first coffee pulping machine.

Columbia wasn’t big in coffee in those days. Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Guatemala were seen as the best coffee growers. Nowadays Nicaragua is known for it’s organic coffee. It is ranked sixth as a grower of gourmet coffee. Most coffee finds it’s way to the USA, Spain, Belgium and France.

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