Is there such a thing as coffee that is too balanced? Too clean? Too mild? Too…perfect? This is the criticism that Costa Rica coffees usually get despite the country being one of the world’s best known coffee origins.
Coffee cuppers call it Costa Rica coffee the “classic cup”, which is really just another word for the traditional balanced coffee with no defects or taints to give it character.
However, there is more to Costa Rica coffee than its “too clean” image. Costa Rica coffees are prized for their high notes. In terms of acidity, they are often reminiscent of bright citrus or berry-like flavors. And in the best cups, Costa Rica coffee into chocolate or spice flavors.
The History of Costa Rica Coffee
The Costa Rica coffee industry was actually slow to expand. It was only in the late eighteenth century when coffee was first brought to the country and owners of small farmlands started cultivating them.
However, it also seemed that Costa Rica coffee and Costa Rican soils were made for each other. There was just enough degree of acidity and the richness of volcanic ashes and organic matter to make Costa Rican soil the perfect complement to promote a good distribution of Costa Rica coffee plants’ roots.
This combination of characteristics, coupled with several environmental factors such as the weather and climate, contribute to the quality of Costa Rica coffee.
How to Drink Costa Rica Coffee
The best way to drink Costa Rica coffee and understand its many fine qualities is to drink it unblended. This is the only way you can fully appreciate the uniqueness of its flavor. Costa Rica being the only country, by law, that prohibits coffee varieties other than Arabica to be grown, Costa Rica coffees belong to the Arabica species, which are known to yield a tasty, superbly aromatic and well-balanced beverage.
Costa Rica Coffee Regions
Costa Rica has seven major coffee growing regions, the most prominent of which is Tarrazu, known for its high fine acidity, very good body and very good aroma. The harvest season is usually between late autumn (September or November) and March. However, there are some Costa Rica coffee growing regions, such as Turrialba, that start their harvest as early as July until December.
Below is a list of the seven major coffee growing regions in Costa Rica and a corresponding description of their coffees:
* West Valley – harvest from November to March; coffees have high fine acidity, very good body and very good aroma
* Central Valley – harvest from November to March; coffees have high fine acidity, good body, and good aroma
* Tarrazu – harvest from December to March; coffees have high fine acidity, very good body and very good aroma
* Tres Rios – known as the “Boudreaux” of Costa Rica; harvest between December and March
* Orosi – harvest from September to February
* Brunca – harvest from August to January
* Turrialba – harvest from July to December