Although there are several different coffee-producing countries out there, there are none quite like Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has been producing coffee since 1820. They only grow Arabica beans, since growing Robusta beans was actually banned back in the 90s!
But, from the Arabica they do grow, they’ve come up with more than ten different varieties. Since then, the coffee trade has really exploded in Costa Rica.
Ready to find out more? Let’s take a look at the best Costa Rican coffee brands you have to try!
Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About Costa Rican Coffee
What type of coffee bean is Costa Rican coffee made from?
The standards for coffee are so high that according to Cafe Britt in 1989 a law was passed prohibiting coffee farmers from planting low-quality beans.
As a result, all of the coffee beans produced in the country are 100% arabica beans, generally considered to be the best in the world.
Does Costa Rica produce a lot of coffee?
If you are wondering if Costa Rica knows its coffee, the numbers tell all! Costa Rica produces more than 1.5 million bags of coffee per year, with 90% of those bags being exported.
In fact, coffee is such a big part of the Costa Rican economy, that according to Contiki.com, coffee makes up 11% of the country’s export revenues.
What does all of this mean? It means Costa Rican coffee is a big part of the culture and the economy and that many renowned coffee houses in the world are using Costa Rican coffee.
Why is Costa Rican coffee considered the best?
Coffee beans actually require a very specific climate to grow. They require a high altitude but also a mild temperature, which is not an easy combination to find.
Costa Rica’s mountainous region provides the perfect place, with little variation in temperature and decent rainfall, the climate provides the setting for the best tasting coffee to be produced.
In addition to the climate, the soil in Costa Rica is ideal for coffee production. The volcanic soil creates a complex flavour profile because it helps to oxygenate the beans while growing.
What does Costa Rican coffee taste like?
The flavour of your coffee will vary depending on which region of the country the coffee comes from. According to Roasty Coffee, coffee from the Tarrazu region will be bold with chocolate, orange, and vanilla flavors.
On the other hand, coffee produced in the Brunca region is much more mild and has hints of citrus. Coffee from the Central Valley has fruit and chocolate notes, and coffee from the West Valley will be light with peach and apricot flavors.
In general Costa Rican coffee is complex and balanced with a slight acidity.
How is Costa Rican coffee produced?
In Costa Rica many coffee berries are still hand-picked. After being harvested they are brought to plants where the high quality berries are separated from the low quality ones.
The best berries are then husked and the coffee beans from them are sun dried before being roasted. They are then packaged to send around the world.
How is Costa Rican coffee brewed?
As you can imagine, people in Costa Rica are very serious about their coffee and therefore are particular in how it’s made.
Coffee prepared traditionally in Costa Rica is called, “aguas de medias” which translates to “sock water.” After seeing the Chorreader, a unique brewer that many Costa Ricans use, it is understandable since the device features a stand and a sock-like filter.
According to the Craft Coffee Guru, Costa Ricans have been making their coffee this way for hundreds of years.
The actual brewing process mirrors the pour-over method. Ground coffee is placed in the filter and hot water is poured over it. The water then drips through the beans and filters where it becomes coffee.
If you are wondering what this looks like in practice, Cafe Britt has a video showing you how to make authentic Costa Rican coffee using this method at home,
What to look for in Costa Rican Coffee:
Like all coffees, there are variations depending on your flavour preference. In general you will want to look at the region it is produced, what type of roast it is, and how it is packaged.
In general coffee from Costa rica comes in a variety of roasts from light to dark, though most common are medium and light roasts.
The region will determine the soil and therefore the flavour, though you should look for coffee produced in a high altitude and preferably in a volcanic soil.
Finally, the packaging on a product determines freshness, look for coffee that is either resealable or ships soon after it is roasted to ensure you are keeping those great flavors in tact.
The Top Costa Rica Coffee Brands
Now that you’ve got a clear idea of how to choose a good coffee bean, let’s talk about the coffee itself.
Here’s a breakdown of the top five Costa Rican coffee brands to check out!
1. Volcanica Coffee Costa Rican Peaberry
Costa Rica Peaberry from Volcanica Coffee is a medium roast coffee that doesn’t have any bitterness in the aftertaste.If you’re new to the world of coffee, this is an excellent pick.
It’s pretty easy to drink and has a sweet yet flavorful taste.
What’s particularly great about these beans is that they’re all hand-picked. Hand-picking the beans means that manufacturers take extra care to only select the highest-quality coffee beans.
On top of that, Volcánica roasts grains every day, which guarantees that each bag is fresh. Considering you’ll be ordering them all the way from Costa Rica, that’s pretty important!
- They’re hand-picked pea beans, so they’ve been thoroughly vetted for quality
- Consistent medium roast, so you get a well-balanced and neutral flavor
- Roasted and shipped on-demand, so you know you’re getting small-batch quality
- They’re single origin, so you get a really pure cup of coffee
- They’re on the pricier side, so they won’t work for someone on a budget.
2. Cumbres del Poas Coffee
Roasted by Fresh Roasted Coffee, you can find Cumbres del Poas as a whole bean, single serving, or ground.
These organic single-origin beans come from a small family farm in Costa Rica.
Now, that’s a bit of a double-edged sword.
While the fact that they’re small-batch coffee means they’re much higher quality, it also means that they can be hard to find. You may have to hunt around a bit to find these beans if you want to try them.
In terms of flavor, this coffee has a nice fruity profile with hints of peach, cherry, and orange. Vibrant acidity with hints of citrus gives this cup character, which is why I personally love it!
- They have an excellent aroma, so they make for a super flavorful cup of coffee
- They have a unique citrus taste, so they’re great for those into craft coffee
- They’re single origin, so you get a real taste for the flavor of Costa Ria
- It can be a bit difficult to find, so you might have to do some hunting to buy them
3. Coffee Tarrazú Coffee Bean Direct
This coffee comes from the well-known Tarrazú region. In fact, Tarrazú is actually home to a number of different coffee growers.Coffee Tarrazú by Coffee Bean Direct, however, is one of the top Costa Rica coffee brands. The blend has a powerful aroma that smells of dark chocolate and grapefruit.
In terms of the flavor, it has pretty mild acidity. Those who prefer lighter coffees will definitely enjoy this brew.
- It’s pretty cheap, so it’s great for those on a budget
- It’s a super dark roast, so if you enjoy dark coffee this is a great pick
- It’s grown and processed at a high altitude, so it tastes fresher and is less burnt than other coffees
- It takes a while to package and ship, so it arrives less fresh than other brands
4. Teasia Costa Rican Coffee
Not only are Teasia Coffee’s single-origin Costa Rican beans affordable, but they also taste great.This is a medium-roast coffee that’s high in acidity and has a slightly fruity flavor. When you brew up the coffee, you’ll find it’s not too bitter and that it has hints of chocolate and caramel.
The one downside to this brand is that the beans do not ship quickly. Almost 10 months can pass between roasting and receiving the beans.
If you’re in a pinch and need coffee fast, this probably isn’t the way to go.
- It’s super affordable, so it’s ideal for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money
- It’s a medium-roast, so it works well for just about any brewing method you want to use
- They’re single-origin beans, so you get a real taste for Costa Rican coffee
- It takes a long time to shift, so it doesn’t arrive very quickly
5. Cooper’s Cask Wine Barrel-Aged Costa Rican Coffee
Cooper’s Cask Wine Barrel-Aged Costa Rican Coffee is unique thanks to the processing. The company, as you can guess from the name, ages its beans in wine barrels.They also honey process them, which adds a special sweetness and flavor to the beans. Combine that with the hint of wine in the beans and you’ve got a unique cup of coffee!
This coffee has a light flavor of fruit, chocolate, and hints of honey.
Although they’re not the most affordable, they’re definitely good quality. Coffee snobs may find it worthwhile to shell out on these tasty beans.
- Has a powerful aroma, so it makes for a super flavorful cup of coffee
- It’s processed with honey, so it has a sweet complexity
- The beans are single-origin and micro-batch, so they’re super high quality
- Aged in Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels, so it has a unique flavor
- It’s a premium coffee, so it can be on the expensive side
Even though there are quite a few great Costa Rican coffees out there, Volcanica Coffee Costa Rican Peaberry takes first place.
That’s because of the high-quality roasting process and additional nutrients. Plus, it has a noticeable aroma that makes for an extra flavorful cup of coffee.
Sure, it might be slightly on the pricey side. But, when you compare its exceptional flavor to other Costa Rican brands out there, it’s easy to see why this one comes out on top.