The mountains above the city of Matagalpa are the center of Nicaragua’s coffee production. Producers in Matagalpa harvest, wash, and begin drying the coffee before trucking it down the mountains to warmer zones with more space for post-harvest processing and export preparations. The Panamerican highway runs along Nicaragua’s western Pacific coast, and the flat, hot fields along the highway are used to dry coffee in the sun. Most of Nicaragua’s dry mills are located in this area.
Matagalpa’s farms are remote, many with limited or no access to electricity. Most coffee production is integrated with shade, combing local tree species with coffee cultivation. Nicaragua’s complex history of land ownership results in many layers of cooperatives and strong private businesses. The independent smallholders in Matagalpa who are able to produce, process, and sell their coffee are proud to offer coffee traceable to a person and place.
The city of Matagalpa is rich with history of indigenous and colonial legacies and remains a bustling center for commerce and agricultural trade of corn, beans, sugar, and fruit as well as coffee.