Our first week in Nicaragua was mostly spent in the TechnoServe office studying the specialty coffee market and developing the questionnaire for the
interviews with exporters and cooperatives next week. Specialty coffee is defined as coffee of superior quality and particular variety which is grown in
high altitude and has achieved a grade above 80 on a 100 point scale in the tasting process known as cupping. It is also important where the coffee comes
from and what story it tells about its production process, farmers who grow it and the environment. The majority of coffee grown in Nicaragua meets the
requirements of specialty coffee, however it is sold as conventional without the premium price which could be captured. It is also common for farmers not
to be aware of the characteristics of their coffee because the cupping is often done by exporters who do not pass that information back to the farmers and
as a result keep the premium. During our upcoming interviews we will focus on finding out from different players in the supply value chain about their
production volumes, exports, prices they receive, and major problems they face.
For the weekend we went to San Juan del Sur, a relaxed town on the Pacific coast known for its nearby beaches and waves perfect for surfing. We explored
those beaches during the day, watched beautiful sunsets, enjoyed local tacos and burritos as well as chats with international travelers. Nicaragua is
becoming a more popular travel destination because its nature is still relatively intact and pristine and free of from overwhelming crowds and development.
It has also a lot to offer, from volcanic landscapes to adventurous jungles to beautiful beaches.