Costa Rica is a consistent producer of some of the tastiest Arabica coffee from Central America. In this piece, you will learn more about the local coffee industry, how to brew, and where to buy the coffee beans at fair prices.
Facts about Costa Rica Coffee
- Coffee is the main cash crop in Costa Rica.
- There are over 80,000 small scale farmers in Costa Rica producing coffee.
- The nation produces approximately 56.438 ounce of coffee per hectare, which is the highest production in the world.
- The coffee grading system includes the following classifications; SHG, GHB, and MHB.
- Coffee is certified as Bird-Friendly. Farms have trees and bird nests in them.
- Costa Rica was the first Central American Country to have a coffee industry
Coffee was introduced in Costa Rica in the 1700’s. The ideal growing conditions helped in breeding and improving the coffee beans. Honduras and El Salvador also followed suit. While Costa Rica does not produce more Coffee like Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala, it has the best quality Arabica.
Costa Rica Coffee Growing Regions
Here are the top regions where coffee is produced in Costa Rica
- West Valley
- Tarrazu (produces the best coffee, consistently)
- Tres Rio
- Central Valley
Coffee was first planted in the Central Valley near the city of San Jose. The high altitude, volcanic soil, plenty of sunshine, and rain are conducive conditions for coffee to grow. In this region, farmers enjoy near 80% of these conditions making coffee the ideal plant to grow.
Tarrazu is the most productive region in Costa Rica. It produces 35% of all coffee exported from this country. La Minita and Doka Estate are the most known coffee producer estates in this region.
Fun Fact: Costa Rica holds a cup in an Annual Excellence Competition for the best coffee.
If you visit Costa Rica, you can take coffee tours and have a wonderful experience.
Coffee Processing Methods Used in Costa Rica
Coffee beans are processed in three main methods; washed, natural or honey.
Washed: it is the most used method used all over the world. Coffee cherries are put in a wet mill, and the fruit is removed forcefully by water and machines. Coffee produced in this method tastes clean and mild. Flavors can include honey, milk, or chocolate with a fruit character.
Naturally-processed: the method is becoming popular because it is affordable as compared to the washed process. Coffee will have a syrupy body with charterers of berries, citrus, and grape.
Honey processing: in this process, only a small part of the fruit is removed. The inner layer-the mucilage or honey is left to dry on the bean. Honey processed coffee is very sweet and has less acidity as compared to coffee processed in the other methods. Honey and molasses notes with some fruit will be tasted depending on the degree of honey used.
Farmers leave the fruit as long as possible, allowing the coffee bean to extract more character from the frit before processing.
Robusta Coffee is Illegal!
Arabica is susceptible to weather changes, pests while Robusta is very vulnerable.
The Current State of the Costa Rican Coffee Industry
- Costa Roca experts 90% (12-15 Million bags) of its coffee annually. This represents less than 1% of the world’s coffee demand.
- 10% of the Costa Rican population depends on the coffee industry.
- 90 % of coffee farmers own less than 12 acres.
- The high production is facilitated by the availability of cheap labor.
- San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago, and Puntarenas are the highest coffee growing zones.
- Costa Rica is the only country in the world with an executive ban on other coffee varieties expert Arabica.
Costa Rican coffee industry is more developed because of ‘Icafe’ (Instituto del Cafe de Costa Rica). The national coffee association was established to assist in scientific research and regulate the coffee industry and growing. The export tax collected by the organization assist in scientific research on soil, coffee genetics, and water analysis.
Huge investments by non-growers in micro-mills has contributed to the growth of this industry. Micro mills and private investors help in buying coffee at higher prices, thus improving farmer’s welfare.
Where to Buy the Best Costa Rican Coffee
Some local roasters sell high-quality bans from Costa Rica. Some also sell blended beans which also taste great. Here is a list of the best Costa Rica beans distributors.
Café 1820 is a staple of Costa Rican households and eating establishments. This coffee made its debut in 1820 as a result of the effort of dedicated citizens determined to play their part in their country’s dream to provide premium coffee to the world. 100% Arabica, café 1820 is a true coffee drinker’s delight. Cafe 1820 is a premium coffee from Costa Rica.
The Volcanica Coffee Company Costa Rican Peaberry
Volcanica is one of the biggest retailers of gourmet coffee beans. It offers Peaberry beans, which are handpicked, making it the best quality of coffee in the world. The beans are fruity, citrusy flavor with a sweet taste. You can order it online, and it will be shipped within a few days.
Sweet Maria’s Green Costa Rican Range
If you need the green Costa Rica coffee beans, Sweet Maria’s is the place to make your orders.it is one of the coffee brands with the best taste.
‘Fresh Roasted’ Costa Rican Beans
Fresh Roasted sells well and freshly roasted coffee beans. The roast is environmentally friendly and organic. When you order directly, it will take between 4-7 days to get your coffee which is still fresh. You should avoid buying from Amazon retailers since you could get supplies that have overstayed. The taste will not be very great.
How to Brew Costa Rican Coffees
Costa Rican coffee is washed, thus suitable for different brew methods. If you have a light roast, a pour-over filter highlights the mild acidity notes in coffee, giving you the cleanest and brightest cup.
For a medium, medium-dark, and dark roast, it will be great using the French Press or an automatic dripper.
An espresso is great for a medium roast.
Using these methods, a balance in body and flavor and sweetness in the Costa Rican beans is produced. Here are the best methods;
- Coffee in a sock
- French Press
- Pour Over
Costa Rican coffee is exceptionally versatile. It does well as a light roast, medium roast, and dark roast. It can please everyone to their satisfaction.
Light Roast: is clean, sweet, and mild acidity. Flavor notes range from honey, molasses to grapes and citrus. To highlight bright flavors, brew through a filter paper.
Medium Roast: emphasizes on full body and pleasant sweetness. Excellent for drip coffee.
Dark Roast: these washed beans give a nice, smooth, and clean cup of dark roast. An espresso or French Press produces the roast flavor.
How is Coffee Grown in Costa Rica?
Most coffee in Costa Rica is grown on cold highlands with volcanic soil. The largest coffee zones are in San Jose, Alajuela, Puntarenas, Heredia, and Cartago. Berries are handpicked, washed, and dried in the sun or machines.
What is Tarrazu Coffee?
Its coffee comes from the Tarrazu region. It is the highest produce or Arabic in Central America.
How Do You Make Costa Rican Coffee?
Traditional coffee is made by pouring over coffee (‘Chorreador de cafe‘). Hot water and the grounds are filtered through a filter into a cup. It is that simple.
Costa Rica has the best Arabic coffee, which is sold all over the world. The magical growing conditions and infrastructure contribute to high coffee production.