Tour the Coffee Museum in Matagalpa

Nicaragua is a major producer of coffee, which is exported throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. As a vital contributor to the Nicaraguan economy, it seems fitting that there should be a museum devoted to all aspects of this popular beverage. The Coffee Museum, situated close to the central park of the city of Matagalpa, is a popular tourist attraction for visitors to Nicaragua’s main coffee growing area.

Colorful murals adorn the walls of the Coffee Museum and a collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, which were discovered in the Matagalpa region, is on display. Visitors can see old photos depicting the history of the city along with pictures of the Matagalpa’s mayors going right back to 1948. But, of course, the emphasis is on coffee, and the Coffee Museum has numerous interesting exhibits of modern and ancient machinery used in the growing and processing of coffee. Visitors will learn about the history of coffee in the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua as well as what is involved in coffee production – from cultivation to when it is served in countless different ways.

Coffee production was introduced to the country in the 1880s when the Nicaraguan government invited young German immigrants to settle in the northern highlands region of Nicaragua with the goal of promoting coffee growing. Many Germans accepted the offer and to this day, descendents of those first immigrants continue to be the mainstay of coffee production in Nicaragua.

Coffee plants can grow into trees, which reach a height of 10-15 meters, but on coffee plantations they are restricted to about three meters for harvesting purposes. The coffee plant has deep green foliage and remains productive for about 15 to 20 years. The creamy white flowers of the coffee plant are richly scented and self-pollinating. They wither within a few days of appearing, being replaced by clusters of fruit. There are two semi-oval furrowed beans within each fruit. Harvesting is best done by hand because trees carry green, ripe and overripe fruits at the same time. Through a fairly lengthy process, the coffee beans are stripped from the fruit, washed, sun-dried, removed from their parchment-like skin through the use of centrifugal force, polished, expertly sorted, packaged and shipped all over the world.

There is little doubt that coffee-lovers will see their favorite beverage in a whole new light after a visit to Nicaragua’s fascinating Coffee Museum.