Costa Rica’s natural coffee growing climate made it the first country In Central America to grow coffee. With its rich volcanic soil Costa Ricans have planted over 400 million coffee trees! It’s not just quantity that makes Costa Rican coffee so well know; the quality is on par with the finest coffees in the world. For example, in the opinion of many coffee connoisseurs, Costa Rican Tarrazu is one of the world’s greatest coffees. Tarrazu with its wonderful fragrance, full acidity, and light flavor, demands a premium in most specialty coffee stores.
Costa Rica grows only arabica beans. If our readers ever see Costa Rican coffee labeled as “robusta” you can be assured it is fake, and not true Costa Rican coffee. Why might you ask? Well, my dear reader it is illegal to grow robusta coffee beans in Costa Rica!
To find the best Costa Rican coffee look for the label SHB. This stands for “Strictly Hard Bean.” Beans classified as Strictly Hard Bean (“SHB”) coffee are grown in elevations above 5,000 feet. High elevations create superior coffee beans. Coffee plants consume large quantities of water and high altitude regions generally get more and steadier rainfall. The cold nights at higher altitudes also cause coffee trees to grow much slower than the warmer regions found in lower altitudes. Due to the slower maturation process, the coffee beans are have more time to mature creating beans that develop a fuller, richer flavor. Generally speaking, the worlds best coffee — such as Jamaican Blue Mountain — all the have the common denominator of growing in high altitude regions. High attitudes also increase the acidity of Costa Rican beans leading to better overall flavor.
Coffee is grown in most areas of Costa Rica but the most celebrated come Tarrazu, which is just south of the capital city San Jose. Other areas where high quality Costa Rican coffee is grown is Alajuela, Central Valley, Naranjo, and Tres Rios.
Notable Specialty Coffees from Costa Rica:
La Minita Tarrazu – Tarrazu is one of the world’s best and well know specialty coffees. In a country know for its great coffee, Tarrazu is Costa Rica’s most highly regarded coffee regions just south of the capital, San Jose. One of the reasons why La Minita Tarrazu is so well regarded is that it’s grown in limited quantities without pesticides or artificial fertilizers. Each bean is hand harvested and sorted. La Minta Tarrazu is family owned and operated for over 3 generations.
Juan Vinas (PR): Juan Vinas coffee is grown at a lower elevation than SHB Coffee. The plants are grown anywhere between 3,000-4,500 feet. Juan Vinas coffee is know for its medium acidity and balanced flavor. Like all “true” Costa Rican coffee the beans are 100% arabica. Purchasers of Juan Vinas should realize that the coffee’s are exported green to roasters in the United States and Europe, who then sell to specialty coffee shops under the Juan Vinas brand. If you do not like a particular roasting style but enjoy the flavor, body, and acidity of the Juan Vinas bean, try finding a different roaster.
FLAVOR: Amazing, full acidity and wonderful aroma