Costa Rican coffee is amongst the fresh and top quality produce that Costa Rica is very well known for and one of the most popular beverages in the world. It is typical for Costa Ricans, specially residents of the Central Valley like myself, to have memories and anecdotes of going coffee picking at some point in our childhoods and early teenage years. It is a very rich and grounding experience where you get to walk around the coffee plantations, and where experienced farmers and growers explain how to choose and pick off the best coffee beans for recollection and later production.
Coffee took root in Costa Rica near the end of the 1700s. The Arabica coffee plant was first grown in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, where ideal growing conditions – including fertile soil, high altitude, and a cool climate contributed to its success. To encourage production, the government offered free land to coffee farmers in the 19th century and because of this, production skyrocketed. By 1829, the revenue from coffee exports surpassed tobacco, sugar, and cacao. Coffee started being exported out to Chile, where it was rebranded and sent to England. In the mid-1800s, hundreds of bags of Costa Rican coffee were sent to Britain. Due to its quality, it sparked a national interest in Costa Rican coffee. From then and until World War II, England was the largest recipient of Costa Rican coffee exports.
The coffee industry helped secure the Costa Rican economy. Although the balance of power during this time was unequal, the revenue from coffee contributed to the modernization of Costa Rica. It helped build a railroad to the country’s Atlantic coast and to construct the National Theatre in San José. Nowadays, Costa Rican coffee is prized as some of the world’s best and is shipped everywhere from Austin, TX to Amsterdam. While Costa Rica accounts for only around 1% of global coffee production, it is a country that comes in well above their weight in terms of quality. Experts put Costa Rican coffee beans extremely high up their shelves. Some coffee growing countries are known for the huge volumes they produce, not so in Costa Rica.
Costa Rican coffee industry focuses on quality. So much so that it is the only place in the world where it is illegal to grow anything other than Arabica beans. Arabica beans are a specific variety of beans that is more difficult to grow than other, hardier stocks. The result when the beans mature though is rich, full-bodied flavors leading to premium blends. A law has been enforced in the last 40 years that states growing any seeds below the quality standars is illegal. Having the perfect environment and weather conditions in Costa Rica for growing the highest quality coffee possible guarantees customers they will have a tasteful experience every morning.
Derrick Rowland, RE/MAX Administrative Assistant