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8 Facts about Costa Rican Coffee Beans

Updated: Jun 9

In my previous blog, I explored into the world of fair trade, a term often heard in the coffee industry. Today, let’s turn our attention to something closer to home: Costa Rican coffee. Did you know that Costa Rica produces only 1% of the world's coffee? Despite its small size, about one-eighth that of Alberta, Costa Rica boasts nearly 5% of the planet's biodiversity. This tiny paradise is renowned for producing some of the best coffee in the world. Here are eight fascinating facts about Costa Rican coffee:

 

1. The Ideal Coffee-Growing Climate

Costa Rica’s geography and climate are perfect for growing high-quality coffee. Our volcanic soil, high altitudes, and temperate climate with consistent rainfall create an optimal environment for Arabica beans. The country’s diverse microclimates contribute to a wide range of flavor profiles, making Costa Rican coffee distinctive and highly prized.

 


2. Arabica Beans Only (Not Really!)

It was long believed that Costa Rica prohibited the cultivation of Robusta coffee beans to preserve quality. However, this was actually a Phytosanitary Protection Law aimed at combating the coffee borer pest. Now, with different agroecological conditions, the country promotes Robusta cultivation in lowland regions to diversify products and economic opportunities. The ICAFE ensures quality by designating specific areas for Robusta cultivation, preventing its mixing with Arabica beans.

Copey Coffee Landscape
Copey Coffee Landscape

 

3. Commitment to Sustainability

Costa Rica is a global leader in sustainable coffee production. Many farms adhere to strict environmental standards, using shade-grown methods, organic farming, and water conservation. This commitment extends to social and economic practices that support coffee workers and local communities. Our town, Dota, is home to the first Carbon Neutral Co-op: Coopedota!

 

4. The Birthplace of the Coffee Institute

In 1933, Costa Rica established the Instituto del Café de Costa Rica (ICAFE), one of the world’s first coffee research institutions. ICAFE plays a crucial role in the development and regulation of the coffee industry, promoting sustainable practices and ensuring quality control. This institution has been instrumental in maintaining the high standards of Costa Rican coffee.

 

5. Regional Variations and Unique Flavors

Costa Rica’s different microclimates result in unique regional coffee characteristics. Tarrazú is known for its bright acidity and fruity notes, the West Valley for its balanced flavors and rich body, and the Central Valley for a chocolatey profile. These regional distinctions allow coffee enthusiasts to explore a diverse range of flavors within Costa Rican coffee, each reflecting its unique terroir.

 

6. Beneficio: The Coffee Beans Processing Advantage

Costa Rican coffee often undergoes a meticulous processing method known as the “beneficio.” This involves washing and fermenting the beans to remove mucilage before drying. The wet processing method enhances the beans' inherent qualities, resulting in a clean, bright cup with well-defined flavors. This meticulous processing is a hallmark of Costa Rican coffee’s exceptional quality.

 


Microbeneficio
Microbeneficio

7. The Influence of Costa Rican Coffee Tourism

Costa Rica’s thriving coffee tourism industry offers visitors a deep dive into the coffee production process. Coffee tours provide a firsthand look at planting, harvesting, processing, and roasting. These tours are educational and support the local economy by promoting coffee farms and cooperatives. For many tourists, these tours deepen their appreciation for the craftsmanship behind each cup of Costa Rican coffee. And yes, you can visit our farm and stay at our lodge!

 

8. Pioneering Traceability and Transparency

Costa Rica is at the forefront of the traceability movement in the coffee industry. Many producers offer detailed information about their coffee’s journey from farm to cup. This transparency allows consumers to trace their coffee back to its origin, gaining insights into the farming practices and people behind the beans. Such efforts enhance the connection between consumers and producers, fostering greater appreciation for the coffee’s journey and the stories in each bean.

 

Now that you’re even more informed about Costa Rican coffee, make sure your next coffee purchase is a well-informed one, knowing exactly where your money is going and whom it supports!

 

 

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