The Matagalpa region of Nicaragua grows some of the country’s best coffees due to its cool, wet microclimate and high elevation. It is worth visiting, but when rains turn the clay roads from passable to a river of slick gumbo, you’ll be traversing it on donkey or by foot into the cloud forests. These low and persistent mists that hang on the mountain at the upper reaches of the tree canopy create microclimates that coax the best out of the coffee trees.
Matagalpa was originally occupied by the indigenous people, but gold was discovered here in 1850 and brought a flood of settlers from Spain, Germany, America, and Great Britain. With these settlers came the first coffee trees, and as they flourished, Europeans immigrated to grow and export the beans, mingling their families and their cultures with the Matagalpas. Now the region is known as one of the best coffee-producing areas of Nicaragua, with characteristically balanced, chocolate, tobacco, and vanilla-forward flavor attributes.