Central American coffee didn’t always find such focus and respect in the coffee trade. In fact it was looked down upon for it’s small bean size, and sometimes inconsistent quality. Transportation routes were difficult, and coffee could be damaged before it reached the coast for export.
This changed greatly when coffee taste quality began to be valued along with bean size and uniformity. Much of this is credited to a San Francisco importer, CE Bickford, who instituted a regimen of blind cupping in the early part of the 1900s. Before that traders looked at green coffee to judge quality, and tasted it later almost as an afterthought. in blind cupping, small bean Central Americas, with their clean, bright acidity, outshined lower-grown origins that were in favor.
Now of course, Central America is the standard for high-grown wet-process coffees. There is no one “Central America” flavor though, as each origin is diverse. There are a range of factors in Central America that impact taste on a regional scale. For example, some regions have the strong influence of Pacific Ocean weather patterns, some have intensely volcanic soils and others do not have any volcanic soil characteristics. So each nation, and each region within each nation, should be judged on its own merits.