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Esquina de los Cafes

by Anne Watcher on Wednesday April 16th, 2014 at 11:53am

Many countries in Central America grow and export coffee and Nicaragua is no exception. Here the north-eastern highlands offer the perfect place for the coffee plants to flourish - cooler temperatures, gentle mountain slopes, adequate water and rich volcanic soils.

Alex and carla owners of Esquina de los Cafes in Matagalpa

While visiting one of the main coffee centers of the area, Matagalpa, we decided to buy some of their famous product to take back to Leon with us. As we walked the streets of the city center we came across Esquina de los Cafes, very aptly named as it sits on a corner.

Here we met the owner, Alejandro Bolanos and his wife Carla. Alex had spent quite a few years in Costa Rica working for Britt Coffee so his love and knowledge of the industry was evident. Upon returning to his native Nicaragua he opened up this store so all could buy their "cup of joe"!

Alex preparing coffee for us

Back home in Canada I work for Tim Horton's coffee so I too am interested in good coffee. Eager to learn the process I listened intently as Alex explained the process for doing the perfect roast and then making the perfect cup of coffee.

Alex had me smell the freshness of beans

Coffee beans should all be roasted each year and not left to be roasted later. As soon as the roasting is complete, the beans should be cooled and packaged to preserve their quality. The optimum time to get the beans cold is 5 minutes.

When making your coffee, water temperature should be at 84 to 86 degrees. Too hot can burn the coffee. While there are endless machines and ways to make your coffee, Alex said he thought a French Press was the best. Of course opinions vary on this subject.

Alex tasting for quality

After handing me a very carefully made cup of coffee, Alex explained what I should be tasting. At first the crispness of the roast could be tasted but as it cools it became smoother, more buttery tasting. This is due to the oils starting to solidify as the temperature drops. I must say I had never noticed this before, but do prefer the flavour as it cools.

Interestingly Alex tries to keep the coffee he sells at a score of 88. Export quality is 84 and higher.

Alex looking after a customer

While we were there we met Carlos Javier Mejia from Esperanza Coffee Group. His family has been the coffee industry for many years and he now acts as a broker between local farmers and the buyers, helping Nicaraguan coffee reach the world market.

He also works in the husbandry part of the process, helping farmers improve their plants. He shows them how to pick the perfect coffee bush to use for seeds for future plants. Improving and preserving soil quality is also another way he helps the farmers in this area.

Carlos Javier Mejia from Esperanza Coffee Group

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Our time with Alex and Carla ended with the purchase of their brand of coffee, Tisei, a 100% Arabica bean with a deep dark chocolate after taste, buttery body and fully sweet flavour!

If you ever find yourself in Matagalpa, Exquina de los Cafes can be found at:

de Mas x Menos, 1 cuadra sur or contact by phone at 8902-2194.

EsquinaDeLosCafes Facebook


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