Coffee is a product we all know and love. It’s nuanced and distinctive, with a massive range of flavors and aromas.
A quick to-go cup gives us the fuel required for a big workday. We can sit over lattes with friends, catching up on our lives. Or we can sip and enjoy a post-meal espresso.
However you drink coffee, the point is, we drink coffee. The coffee industry isn’t slowing down—it has an annual growth rate of 5.5 percent. Globally, the coffee industry is worth an astonishing $100 billion.
By far, though, Costa Rican coffee continues to stand out. There are several reasons behind this, too—how and why they continuously yield such a high-quality product.
If you’ve ever been curious as to how Costa Rica developed such a good reputation, you’re in the right place. In this article, we discuss why their coffee deserves respect, giving you another reason to visit Costa Rica today.
Costa Rican Coffee Is Strictly 100% Arabica Coffee
There are over 100 different coffee species—although selections primarily boil down to two types: Arabica and Robusta.
Robusta, with its higher caffeine content, has flavors that are more bitter and, well, burnt-tasting. It doesn’t produce those desirable nuances that Arabica does. That’s why most gourmet coffee is the Arabica variety.
Arabica is of the highest quality. Its flavors are sweet, mild, light, airy—just like the mountains it comes from. It can also offer other flavor profiles, such as
- Chocolate notes
- Smooth caramel
- Bright berry flavors
Arabica is even harder to tend to, which nods towards the patience, care, and expertise that goes into caring for it. It requires certain conditions to grow well, and luckily, Costa Rica is a place with ideal temperatures and weather patterns.
In an attempt to produce only respectable, excellent coffee, Costa Rica banned the use of Robusta in 1989. From then on, the coffee made in Costa Rica has been 100% Arabica species. It’s illegal to do anything but.
This proves how Costa Rican coffee producers won’t settle for anything but the best.
The Diverse Climate Is Perfect for Coffee Beans
Coffee thrives in certain climates, and Costa Rica has one of them.
The small island houses mountains in its center, providing higher altitudes, and their eight coffee regions span these mountains. Its rainforest weather conditions are as good for the coffee as the drier seasons it gets, too.
National Geographic once called Costa Rica’s central highlands the most perfect region in the whole world to grow Arabica!
The higher altitudes, mixed with the volcanic soil, creates a micro-climate that provides excellent growing conditions for the coffee bean. The volcanic ash oxidizes the land and also makes the coffee grow slower, which allows it to develop complex flavors.
Costa Rica Has Eight Unique Coffee Regions
Costa Rica has eight distinctive regions that produce different-flavored coffee:
- Central Valley
- West Valley
- Tres Rios
We mentioned that Nat Geo gave a special shout-out to the Central Valley, but actually, Tarrazu is one of the more famous regions of the group.
Each of these regions enjoys the benefits of high altitudes, which is the makings of a good coffee: fine acidity, beautiful aromas, and good bodies. A typical weather pattern looks like sun in the mornings and rain in the afternoon—a winning combo for coffee growing.
The Central Valley is a historic village that has been producing coffee for over 150 years.
Each Coffee Cherry Is Hand-Picked by Coffee Experts
Harvest season is a significant time of year for coffee growers! It’s the culmination of all their hard work and involves hand-picking coffee cherries. It’s the busiest season for farmers and pickers.
Costa Rica only has one harvest season per year, which can be anywhere from October through March, depending on the coffee. The mature cherries must be red to be ready for picking.
Costa Rica’s coffee pickers don’t mess around.
They wake up early, before the sun rises, getting to the coffee fields. They pick as many ripe coffee cherries as they can before the sun sets (plus the unripe, which will be useful later in the season). They get paid for how many cherries they pick, so both quality and quantity are essential.
Pickers fill a basket attached to their hips, called a cajuela. Each picker usually fills 20 cajuelas a day!
People from other cities, like Nicaragua or Panama, also join in helping the locals harvest their most famous export—traveling the distance to be apart of this hustling, bustling time.
Costa Rica has strict Fair Trade laws that guarantee coffee pickers get paid an appropriate, respectable income. Pickers get paid at the going market rate, and if not, more.
Buying Locally Stimulates Their Economy
Coffee is the major cash crop in Costa Rica.
In the 2015-’16 year, there were 43,035 coffee producers and 246 coffee mills (up from 127 in 2006). The growth of coffee provides career and livelihood for many of the Costa Rican population.
Being such a huge commodity, it also stimulates the economy as a whole. In that same year, Costa Rica exported $288.3 million worth of coffee.
By buying Costa Rican coffee, you’re helping contribute to a history and culture that supports generations of coffee producers.
Our Advice? Try Costa Rican Coffee Locally
Sit among the rainforest and the coatis and enjoy a cup of renowned coffee.
Here, you’ll experience flavorful, aromatic Costa Rican coffee right in the environment it was harvested in. Enjoy the nuances of your drink while appreciating the pleasant climate that makes it thrive.
At Jacó Beach, Costa Rica, we can offer you coffee and then some—stress-free travel accommodations, crystalline beaches, and exciting excursions.
Contact us today to book your all-inclusive vacation. Don’t forget to bring some coffee back home with you!