When you hear about Costa Rican coffee, you will probably think about good quality and strong flavor. Both thoughts are correct but this reputation is not a coincidence, Costa Ricans take their coffee very seriously and are proud of what we call our golden beans.
History says that back in 1720, the first coffee beans where brought to Martinica and then to Costa Rica at the end of the XVIII century.
Costa Rica was the first country in the area to develop the coffee industry and since then, the government was motivating farmers to grow coffee. Sometimes they even gave land to the farmers without cost in order to increase the national production.
Costa Rican Coffee
The best coffee quality by law
Coffee was such an important product for Costa Rica that laws were passed pertaining to it’s cultivation. Back in 1989, it was prohibited by law to cultivate the Robusta coffee due the poor quality. After this, the Coffee farmers decided to stop producing another kind of coffee called Catimores.
All these efforts were made in order to produce only Arabica Coffee, of which the variety Caturra and Catuaí are the ones we use in Costa Rica. More than 80% of our coffee plantations are located between 800 meters and 1600 meters altitude, planted with fertile volcanic grounds, and temperatures from 17 to 28 Celsius degrees.
This is the perfect environment to produce an excellent product. Coffee plants do not like extremely hot weather and thrive in a higher altitude.
Costa Rican coffee has won plenty of international contest and certifications. In Japan, the winner of the world coffee competition used Costa Rican coffee to make his winning cup, saying that he only uses Costa Rican coffee because it is the best in the world.
The most sold brands are the 1820, Cafe Rey and Dorado and most of the customers are Costa Ricans. You can find many brands of coffee in the country, from big companies like Britt to local stores that make their own product.
If you visit Costa Rica we highly recommend you to visit a Beneficio, where the coffee beans are processed. It’s very interesting to see the fusion between old and new technology because they use both ways to process coffee – by hand and by machine. I have been in the Britt and Doka Coffee tour and both are great.
Another activity that is part of our culture is to collect coffee. My mom and her brothers did this when they were young to make money and nowadays they pay from $1.80 to $2 for a basket. It is a tough job but a good collector fills around 15 baskets a day.
Most of the Costa Ricans don’t collect coffee as a job anymore because the pay is very low and there are easier jobs available. The ones in charge are seasonal workers that come from Nicaragua and some rural parts of the country.
When I was a kid (lonnngggg time ago) I remember going to my grandmother’s house and something I will never forget is the coffee smell in the house every afternoon. It is a Costa Rican tradition to drink coffee around 3 pm and the secret was the way how my grandma brewed coffee.
Here is a video of the traditional way to make coffee. If you love coffee, you must try it made this way! It’s one of the essential experiences to have in Costa Rica 🙂
You can buy Costa Rica Coffee online!
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Learn more about the food and drink of Costa Rica here.