Costa Rica Coffee – Best Coffee in the World

By spk7189 February 14, 2018

Costa Rica Coffee production has a long and colorful history and continues to be important to the country’s economy. In 2006, coffee was Costa Rica’s number three export, after being the number one cash crop export for several decades.  The largest growing areas are in the provinces of San José, Alajuela, Heredia, Puntarenas, Cartago and Tarrazú . The coffee is exported to other countries in the world and is also exported to cities in Costa Rica.

As a small country, Costa Rica now provides under 1% of the world’s coffee production. In 2015, the value of its coffee exports was US$305.9 million, a small part of the total agricultural exports of US$2.7 billion or of the total of all exports which was US$12.6 billion.  Coffee production increased by 13.7% percent in 2015/2016, declined by 17.5% in 2016/2017 but was expected to increase by about 15% in the subsequent year.

Coffee production in the country began in 1779 in the Meseta Central which had ideal soil and climate conditions for coffee plantations. Coffea arabica first imported to Europe through Arabia, whence it takes its name, was introduced to the country directly from Ethiopia. In the nineteenth century, the Costa Rican government strongly encouraged coffee production, and the industry fundamentally transformed a colonial regime and village economy built on direct extraction by a city-based elite towards organized production for export on a larger scale. The government offered farmers plots of land for anybody who wanted to harvest the plants. The coffee plantation system in the country therefore developed in the nineteenth century largely as result of the government’s open policy, although the problem with coffee barons did play a role in internal differentiation and inequality in growth. Soon coffee became a major source of revenue surpassing cacao, tobacco, and sugar production as early as 1829.

Exports across the border to Panama were not interrupted when Costa Rica joined other Central American provinces in 1821 in a joint declaration of independence from Spain. In 1832, Costa Rica, at the time a state in the Federal Republic of Central America, began exporting coffee to Chile where it was re-bagged and shipped to England under the brand of “Café Chileno de Valparaíso”. In 1843, a shipment was sent directly to the United Kingdom by the Guernseyman William Le Lacheur, captain of the English ship, The Monarch, who had seen the potential of directly cooperating with the Costa Ricans. He sent several hundred-pound bags and following this the British developed an interest in the country.  They invested heavily in the Costa Rican coffee industry, becoming the principal customer for exports until World War II. Growers and traders of the coffee industry transformed the Costa Rican economy, and contributed to modernization in the country, which provided funding for young aspiring academics to study in Europe. The revenue generated by the coffee industry in Costa Rica funded the first railroads linking the country to the Atlantic Coast in 1890, the “Ferrocarril al Atlántico”. The National Theater itself in San José is a product of the first coffee farmers in the country.

At present, the production of coffee in the Great Metropolitan Area around the capital of San José has decreased in recent years due to the effects of urban sprawl. As the cities have expanded into the countryside, poor plantation owners have often been forced to sell up to building corporation.

Costa Rican coffee beans are considered among the best in the world. Tarrazú is thought to produce the most desirable coffee beans in Costa Rica. In 2012, Tarrazú Geisha coffee became the most expensive coffee sold by Starbucks in 48 of their stores in the United States. 

The Agriculture and Livestock Ministry and the Costa Rican Coffee Institute organize an annual festival: National Coffee Day, during which a producer is awarded the Cup of Excellence for the highest quality of coffee produced in Costa Rica. The winner sells their coffee through an auction to the international community.

Now What?

One of the most beautiful things about coming to Costa Rica is that you never have to worry about getting a bad cup of coffee.  And, to me, the best is when its prepared the old fashioned way with a Chorreador.  There is so much pride from Costa Ricans about their coffee that once, in a meeting with some attorneys, after all of the introductions our attorney said, “you may not remember all our names, but you will surely remember our coffee.”  He was right.  It is the best coffee I have ever had.

It’s time to come visit. And if you love this country as much as we do lets talk about investing in Real Estate here.  We have every angel of the process covered through our own offerings and through our partnerships with Tico(Costa Rica locals) attorneys, tourism experts, CPA’s…even your pool guy.  Let Pura Vida Realty Group and Vacation Pura Vida help you find your slice of paradise here.

Pura Vida,

Scott