Costa Rican coffee is the best! You come to appreciate it more when you travel to other places, but especially when you taste its finest quality. Here we will show you the best coffee growing regions for this delicious drink that every good coffee lover cannot miss and come to know.
Costa Rican coffee.
Costa Rican coffee is a whole culture with a tradition built over centuries of meticulous dedication to details from the selection of the seeds to the way it is served at the table. It is in almost all facets of the collective imagination of the Ticos and in their way of understanding life.
It was for almost two centuries the main source of family income and national currency. It is currently recognized as a world standard for the quality of gourmet coffee, protected under a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) that encompasses all coffee made in Costa Rica, as well as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) that specifically covers the Tarrazú coffee, produced in the Valle de los Santos, south of the province of San José.
Quality and cultivation.
Until February 2018, 100% of the coffee was of the Arabica species, of the Caturra and Catuaí varieties, which produce a higher quality bean and a cup with better organoleptic characteristics: pleasant, aromatic, and fine.
Since 1989, the planting of Robusta coffee has been prohibited by law due to its inferior cup quality. In addition, the highly productive Catimores was cultivated to preserve the quality of the cup. In February 2018, the government changed the law to allow the robust species to be grown in some places in Costa Rica, where arabica does not grow strongly.
In Costa Rica, coffee is grown in fertile soils of volcanic origin and low acidity, ideal conditions for its production. More than 80% of the coffee growing area is located between 800 and 1,600 meters of altitude and in temperatures between 17º and 28º C., with annual rainfall of between 2,000 and 3,000 millimeters.
Since 2001, the Costa Rican Coffee Institute, ICAFE, implemented the National Coffee Plan with actions that improve the conditions in which coffee is produced, processed, and sold. The advanced technology that the Costa Rican coffee producer has used for more than 200 years has allowed to adapt the plantations to the characteristics of each area.
It is grown in 8 producing areas: Brunca Region, Turrialba, Tres Ríos, Orosi, Tarrazú, Central and Western Valleys and Guanacaste. It uses a manual and selective harvesting method: only the mature grain is chosen. Each coffee region in Costa Rica signed a Quality Improvement Agreement in which the owners of the beneficiary companies have committed to receiving and processing only ripe fruit, which guarantees a better cup quality.
The Costa Rican coffee sector only uses wet processing, in which the pulp is removed on the same day as the bean harvest. Also, the classification and cleaning, after the removal of the pulp, is done before the fermentation process, with the purpose of eliminating the pulp that remains and removing possible defective grains. In the Costa Rican beneficiation process, sun drying is used, one of the systems with the highest demand in the most demanding world markets.
As a quality orientation, since 2007 a first cupping competition has been organized, from which 10 of the best coffees are selected as winners. Three of them were selected by an expert jury during the Cupping Pavilion competition of the Association of Fine Coffees of America.
Among the preferred varieties, the “caturra” variety stands out, it is characterized by being short, has short internodes, a thick and little branched trunk, and abundant, short side branches, with secondary branching, which gives the plant a vigorous and compact appearance.
For those coffee lovers know that the country has 8 coffee growing regions:
• Central Valley: It is the coffee that is planted in places like Atenas, Orotina, Puriscal, Heredia, Escazú. Characteristic notes: chocolate added and fine acidity.
• Tres Ríos: They say that the coffee in this area is the most balanced cup, because it has the best soil and climate conditions, but every time we see less coffee and more condominiums and houses. Characteristic notes: sweet, round cup (good proportion of body, intensity, acidity).
• Turrialba: The climate in this area is rainy and makes the coffee trees bloom ten times a year. Its acidity is normal and light.
• Brunca: These are two very productive cantons: Coto Brus and Pérez Zeledón. One of the notes that I like the most in your coffee is caramel.
• Guanacaste: This region is not usually high enough to grow coffee, but it can be produced in some high places. Its body is smooth, with low acidity, notes of nuts, balanced cup.
• Tarrazú: It is the best known area, which has transcended borders. Tarrazú is an area of high mountains, there the coffee grows higher, so its acidity is accentuated, that note is characteristic but not unpleasant of this region in addition to being a very aromatic, intense, defined coffee.
• Orosí: The slopes of the Orosí valley are planted with coffee. Here the notes are floral, bitter, good for espresso, an unforgettable experience, for its landscape and its flavor.
• Valle Occidental: The region is recognized for producing gourmet coffee that has been bought at high prices per quintal. Like Tarrazú, producers in the region have won awards such as the Cup of Excellence. The fruits of this noble coffee produce a balanced and aromatic cup, with floral notes.