Costa Rican coffee has played a pivotal role in Costa Rica’s development since the end of the 1700s. The Arabica coffee plant was first cultivated in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. This area was chosen because of its great farming conditions. It’s known for its high altitude, fertile soil, and cool climate. This is one of the reasons why Costa Rican coffee has such a unique flavor.

As farming cultivation continued, the government saw the economic potential of coffee. So, to ramp up production, the government gave coffee farmers free land in the 19th century. As a result, coffee production skyrocketed.

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Costa Rica has historically enjoyed longer and more stable peace than its neighboring countries. Unlike countries in Central America, Costa Rica has had a measure of security. As a result, many farmers have had the opportunity to grow coffee uninterrupted. 

Since the 20th-century, coffee has been gaining importance among the country’s most profitable and important crops. Currently, coffee is the main export of Costa Rica.

Top Three Costa Rican Coffee

Want to experience the full flavor and aroma of authentic coffee from Costa Rica? I suggest you try one or more of the following.

Café Britt – Tarrazú

Founded in 1985, Café Britt is Costa Rica’s premier gourmet coffee company. The coffee is authentic and traditional. Proudly, Costa Rica has produced some of the world’s best coffee for more than one hundred years.

However, before Café Britt, all gourmet coffee was exported. Unfortunately, Costa Ricans and visitors to the country could only access lower-quality beans. These beans were reserved for domestic consumption. Where many people saw a barrier, the founders of Café Britt saw an opportunity.

Café Britt has a great reputation in all of Central and South America for consistently great coffee. It’s single-origin, organic, and of premium quality. Also, it has exotic flavor notes such as grapefruit and raisins.

Incidentally, Café Britt was the main protagonist in the story about a dispute between Costa Rican and Colombian coffee companies. Clearly, they take great pride in their coffee!


Café 1820 – Gourmet

The country of Costa Rica had a turning point in the last decade of the 18th century. It was the start of the coffee industry. So, why does the company have 1820 in their name? Well, the answer is in the year they exported the first “golden bean” to Panama. Since then, part of the Costa Rican economy has revolved around the production and consumption of coffee.

This is a traditional coffee from Costa Rica. Instead of looking for exotic flavor and aroma, 1820 focuses on delivering a rich and creamy coffee. With flavor notes such as cocoa and chocolate, it is one of the most balanced and neutral coffees you can get from Costa Rica.

The Café 1820 you can enjoy is a balanced mix of Café Oro. It uses coffee from the 7 coffee-producing areas in Costa Rica. Their high-altitude coffee is grown in nutrient-rich volcanic soils. These soils are located at more than 1000 meters above sea level. Also, preselected coffee is rated using a cupping analysis by an expert coffee taster.


Gevalia – Special Reserve, Costa Rica

This coarse ground coffee is perfect for french press coffee and similar methods. You will experience fruity notes and citrus-like acidity.

Swedes drink more coffee than almost anyone. They have spent the last 150 years mastering the perfect cup. In 1853, Victor Theodor Engwall opened up a small coffee importing business. The business was in the small seaside town of Gävle, Sweden. Gevalia has been selling a variety of premium coffee crafted to his exacting standard ever since.


Further Reading:

History of Coffee In Costa Rica

As mentioned, coffee has been grown here since the 18th century. Initially, it was hard to sell to Europeans. Instead, they were the main buyers of Central and South American coffee. Unfortunately, Costa Rica was not a familiar name for Europeans like Colombia or Brazil.

So, Costa Rica resorted to a clever strategy.

Costa Rican coffee was first exported to Chile. Chile would then sell the coffee to Europeans. It was an easy sell since Chile was more familiar thus trustworthy to these buyers.

Also, it is interesting to note that Costa Ricans take enormous pride in their coffee. So much so that a rival has developed between Costa Rica and Colombia.

In 2006, a company in Costa Rica’s cafe industry launched a local marketing campaign with the tagline “Juan Valdez drinks Costa Rican coffee.” Keep in mind, Juan Valdez is a fictional character. He is the embodiment of coffee and coffee farmers in Colombia. As you can imagine, when Colombian coffee farmers got wind of this, they were not pleased.

In fact, they were so angry; they sued the Costa Rican company. To make matters worse, the Costa Rican company countersued. In the end, nothing has changed. The fact remains that Costa Rica and Colombia continue to have a very competitive relationship when it comes to coffee.

Why Buy Coffee From Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has some of the oldest coffee estates on the continent. Their techniques have been refined over decades. Costa Rican coffee is one of the most unique in terms of flavor and aroma. The quality of Costa Rican coffee seems to improve each year. The country has gained a reputation as one of the world’s most exotic coffees.

Flavor Profile

Costa Rica is famous for its floral notes, like jasmine as well as rose petals. Berries and tropical fruits are also common in terms of taste. The aroma tends to be a mixture of dark chocolate with plenty of floral hints.

Costa Rican Coffee Culture

Like many other coffee-drinking cultures in the region, the people of Costa Rica enjoy black coffee. It is often filtered through a cotton coffee sock. This type of sock has been in use in the country since the 19th century.

People in this part of world view black coffee similar to drip coffee. It is just a little stronger and more concentrated. Also, Costa Rica has many big coffee chains like Starbucks.

Fortunately for its people, Costa Rica values good coffee. Also, the government goes out of its way to keep costs relatively low. So, most Costa Ricans can enjoy specialty-grade coffee for an excellent price. Nobody is ever short of coffee in Costa Rica!

One of the main attractions of Costa Rica is tourism. To be more exact – coffee tourism. They have some of the best facilities for touring coffee estates. You can explore the wilderness and take tours through the plantations. The best part, you get to taste freshly harvested, roasted coffee.

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Sherry Harris

Sherry Harris, a bonafide coffee brewing and tasting enthusiast, is the founder of Coffee Shop Lady. She writes for regular coffee drinkers who like being informed about the best coffee beans from around the world, espresso machines, coffee makers, grinders, and delicious coffee drinks and recipes.