If you’ve been considering a trip to Costa Rica, make it between October and March. It’s the prime harvesting time for some of the finest coffee in the world, so you can add a tour of some of the best coffee farms in the world to your itinerary.
Why Costa Rican Coffee Beans are Some of the Best
Costa Rica recently lifted its ban on robusta beans in 2018, as a way to create jobs and make use of the land that has the conditions for robusta beans. Robusta beans are good, but arabica beans are just great. With so many companies in Costa Rica used to growing arabica beans, it does not make sense to change their ways. People will pay for that quality that comes from arabica.
It’s because of Costa Rica’s “high grown altitudes and a pleasant acidity” that allows for growers to cultivate such amazing coffee. A lot of places in South and Central America have similar growing conditions, but Costa Rica has reached an ideal balance of both altitude and acidity. It’s because of that acidity that arabica beans thrive so well in those conditions. Those conditions result in “high acidity, excellent body, and good aroma and taste”.
One of the most well known regions of Costa Rica is Terrazu. Its altitude is 1200 to 1900 meters, and the coffees grow best in its dry season (November to March). This is not to say that beans grown outside of this region are of lesser quality, but it is no wonder that there are so many farms in this area. Whether grown in Terrazu or another part of Costa Rica, the local economy of Costa Rica thrives off of coffee—and we get to reap the benefits in some great tasting roasts.
Top 3 Best Coffee Brands From Costa Rica
The three following coffee brands from Costa Rica are all reputable for producing create beans, and the best part may be that they offer tours to check it out first hand!
Tamarindo Coffee Roasters
With four coffee farms, two being in the Tarrazu region, Tamarindo has the ability to produce a variety of roasts with the same high quality. Each of the farms gives a personal touch to the different roasts as different family farms make their mark on the harvesting process of the rich beans. They take those coffees and roast them in the surf town of Tamarindo, with their own coffee shop to bring the entire process home.
Their medium-dark roast, called “Blue Zone Honey”, has an amazing taste with its notes of “Brown sugar and vanilla aromas; Nutty and caramel taste; Creamy body; Sugar cane aftertaste”. That coffee is actually produced at their Finca Vida Azul farm, which is located in a blue zone. Blue zones around the world are known to be the homes of people that live the longest. If the coffee is grown in this region, we can only hope some of that magic is passed along in the beans!
Sun Burst Coffee
Owner Michael Pierpont moved from California in order to make better coffee than what he was finding in the states. He shared that “Great coffee is my passion and I live to build this business through producing exceptional coffee products with personalized service that the big companies can’t provide”. Almost thirty years after his big move, Pierpont has continued to follow his drive for passion in order to create amazing coffee.
The beans are roasted to order, so no need to question how old our beans are. Don’t be concerned that you are being jipped if your coffee is shipped from Texas—that just means it was roasted in their facility in Austin. Other than that, these beans are Costa Rican born and raised. Sun Burst Coffee offers a medium roast from that infamous Tarrazu region as well, called Coope Tarrazu, with notes of “nuts, cocoa and caramel” that are always hard to steer away from.
The family behind this coffee has been doing their thing since 1940! Being that old does not mean that they’re in the dark on newer techniques and machinery. In 1997, they began a project called “Café Tres Generaciones”. It was then that they invested in roasting and grinding machines to bring us what is available today. Now, 90% of their production is exported for people like us to enjoy.
Their “Peaberry” blend sounds pleasant with a sweet taste with “lime notes”. This selection contains a “caracolillo” bean, which is “present in 5% of all coffee plants that offers more acidity and sweet taste”. That bean aids in making the blend a medium roast with a bright acidity.
How to Brew your Costa Rican Coffee
As far as brewing Costa Rican coffee goes, you cannot go too wrong. For starters, make sure that you grind your Costa Rican coffee correctly. Nothing worse than using the wrong grind setting to create a domino effect ending in a terrible cup. Once you know how to grind them, make sure that you do so in a timely matter in order to get the most taste our of your beans. It’s from there that even more decisions need to be made.
With the precision that goes in to growing the coffees, and the quality that comes from that, we can’t seem to bring ourselves to recommend using a drip coffee machine. A Moka pot is a good option if you want to combine the richness of the Costa Rican coffee with your love for strong (debatably espresso-like) coffee. Considering an AeroPress is single serve, it may not be ideal for Costa Rican coffee considering it could be well past its peak freshness by the time you make it through the entire bag! When it doubt, French press it out! Those are only a few of the options there are to consider, but it is really just a good place to start.
Costa Rica is a country rich in culture, and that’s before we even start talking about the coffee. The coffees harvested and roasted in Costa Rica are some of the best in the world, so whether you make a trip there to tour a facility or simply order them online—both will be worth your time.