Whether or not Costa Rica coffee is one of your favorites or you've never tried a cup of this delicious java, Costa Rica has been a major player in coffee for hundreds of years. In fact, according to Costa Rican coffee history, the first coffee crops were brought to the region in the late 18th century via Ethiopia, with the new crop being soon recognized by the Costa Rican government as an important asset.
In the mid-19th century, the government noticed that coffee exports were eclipsing the staples of sugar, cacao and tobacco, and by the early 1900s, the government actually gave free land away to anyone that wanted to get into coffee farming -- and many did. Today, coffee from Costa Rica is respected around the world, and many coffee drinkers and connoisseurs alike turn to this delicious cup of coffee on a daily basis.
Here are some more Costa Rica coffee facts that you may not know.
It's All About the Climate, Soil and Altitude
It's not really surprising given that coffee growing and production depends on the climate where it's grown, but Costa Rica has an ideal mixture of climate, soil and altitude -- all of which come together to create a delicious cup of coffee. Most coffee production in Costa Rica happens in the Central Valley with cool temperatures, lots of sunlight and great soil.
Classic Costa Rican Coffee Is Known as "Sock Water"
This Costa Rican coffee fact comes from translating the traditional Costa Rican coffee known as "aguas de medias" -- or "sock water." However, the name is more descriptive than an indication of actual socks being used in the brewing process. It's called a chorreador or coffee sock, but it merely matches the look of a sock. The filter is hung via a wire frame with hot water poured over similar to how a drip filter works. With a strong and signature Costa Rican taste profile, sock water can even be made at home with the right equipment.
Laws Protect Costa Rican Coffee Production
Coffee is important to Costa Rica. So important, in fact, that various laws have been passed that protect the production of Costa Rican coffee. Companies and farmers are only allowed to grow the Arabica species in Costa Rica under federal decree, though it just so happens that Arabica is widely regarded as the most flavorful type of Costa Rican coffee. However, there still is some choice. There are actually two varieties of Arabica -- Bourbon and Typical -- as well as eight sub-varieties that are known as cultivars.
Costa Rican Coffee Was Once the Most Expensive Option in Starbucks
In 2012, a small family farm in the province of San Jose started producing Geisha coffee, a rare Arabica variety that is only found in Central America. It's notoriously difficult to grow, yet about seven acres were dedicated to growing "Costa Rica Finca Palmilera" for $7 a cup and $40 a bag. But those high prices didn't deter coffee drinkers -- the company sold out completely of this desirable Costa Rican coffee in less than a day.
Costa Rica Produces Over a Million Bags of Coffee a Year
If you had any doubts that Costa Rica coffee production was limited, the numbers don't bear that out. In actuality, about a million and a half bags of coffee are produced each year, with over 90 percent of them being exported outside of Costa Rica for a worldwide audience. Indeed, Costa Rica depends on coffee exports, with 11 percent of their export revenues coming directly from this tasty bean. It's also done largely by smaller growers with farms that are less than 12 acres.
Costa Rican Coffee Beans Are Handpicked
While many coffee beans around the world may be processed by machines, this astonishing Costa Rican coffee fact tells us that most coffee berries from Costa Rica are picked by hand. The best collectors can fill up to a dozen baskets a day or more, and after that they're sent for processing where the beans are washed, sorted and have their husks and pulps removed, yielding two beans for each berry. After this, the coffee beans are loaded into barrels that separate out the beans by size, then they're dried and prepared for packaging.
Want To Learn More? Go For a Tour!
If you're really interested in how they make coffee in Costa Rica, there's not much better than seeing it first hand with a tour of a Costa Rican coffee plantation. Between observing the harvesting, processing and roasting process, not to mention having a couple delicious cups of Costa Rican coffee along the way, you'll learn more in one visit than you ever could reading about it.
But for those that aren't that interested in Costa Rica coffee facts and instead just want an excellent cup of Costa Rican coffee, you can grab our single-serve Costa Rican coffee in tea bags. They're delicious and easy -- just add water!