Coffee in Costa Rica

By Ismael Arnaiz  


Interesting and fun facts about Costa Rican coffee.

“The traditional way of preparing coffee in Costa Rica supposedly comes from the “biggin” system, which was widely used during Victorian times in England and Holland during the XVIII century. The concept was simple: you hung a cloth bag full of ground coffee on a metal ring that was adapted to a metal recipient that served as the coffee pot.”
Costa Rica’s Coffee… A Journey Through its History, by Gertrud Peters and Mario Samper


General Facts

There are 78,000 coffee producers in Costa Rica, chiefly small-scale farmers; 101 processing plants that transform the fruit into coffee, wash, dry and wharehouse it; 73 roasters that toast and grind the bean; and 30 exporting companies.

Coffee grows on more than 100,000 hectares in the country. Costa Rica produces 2.5 million sacks of coffee weighing 60 kilograms each.

There are two classes of roasting for local consumption, one pure and the other mixed with up to 10% sugar. 

Soil and Climatic Characteristics   

The soil in Costa Rica contains a light grade of tropical acidity, the product of land enriched by volcanic ash. The soils are rich in organic materials, which allow the plant to achieve a good root distribution, helping retain moisture and facilitate oxygenation.

More than 70% of national production comes from the mountains at elevations from 1,000 to 1,700 meters above sea level. At that elevation temperatures fluctuate between 17 and 23 degrees Celsius, sunlight is stable and the amount of rain is optimal.

Types of Coffee in Costa Rica
There are two predominate climates that, according to their impact, mark the differences in the coffees found on the Atlantic and Pacific slopes. There area seven coffee-producing regions in Costa Rica that produce seven distinct types of coffee. They area: Tarrazú, highly acidic, produced at high altitudes, known for its aroma and body; Brunca, early ripening, normal acidity, perfect for all tastes; Orosi, a long, uniformly shaped bean, excellent quality; Tres Ríos, traditional coffee-producing area, known as the Bordeaux of Costa Rica; Turrialba, good-sized bean with low acidity; Valle Occidental, known for its great peach and apricot flavor; Valle Central, a chocolaty flavor, the first coffee plantations were established here.  

Costa Rican Coffee in the World

The country exports 90% of its coffee harvests, whose sales represent 15% of the country’s total exports. Costa Rica ranks 13th among world coffee producers, with 1.82% of the world’s coffee production coming from Tico soil.

Fun Fact: Costa Rica is the only country in the world where a presidential decree (November 4, 1989) states that only Arabica varieties of coffee may be planted.

Location map


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