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Home > About Costa Rica > Coffee Section

History of Costa Rican Coffee

Coffee came to Costa Rica in the last decade of the eighteenth century. Its arrival on national scene was discrete, but definitive. Slowly and with perseverance that great works demand, coffe growing expanded over the high lands of the Central Valley. The brotherhood of coffee farmers, both large and small, formed the basis that allowed Costa Rica to become the first Central American country to establish coffee as an industry.

Our first export was to Colombia. Those lonely sacks that crossed our borders in 1820, became the ground breaking activity which, from that moment on, changed the course of our lives. By 1823, we were already exporting quality coffee to Chile. There, it was repackaged for sale to England under the name of "Café Chileno de Valparaíso".

It was in 1854, when a visionary group of local exporters undertook the complex task of exporting coffee directly to London. In this they were helped by the cooperation of William Le Lacheur Lyon, captain of the English ship "Monarch", who transported several one hundred our coffee into the "grain of gold" we know today.

The growing and commercialization of the coffee changed the face of that humble, one time colony that dozed lethargically in corner of the Empire. Our country was modernized. The young Costa Rican intellectuals could now continue their post secondary studies in England and come back as doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs, contributing to the improvement of the life style of all Costa Ricans.

The economic bounty that coffee production and commercialization brought allowed us to build the first access to the Atlantic in 1890. Seven years later, the awed inhabitants of the capital city of San José were able to attend the memorable inauguration of the National Theater, cradle of Costa Rica culture and monument to the forsight of the first coffee farmers. Since tyen Costa Ricans know that coffee and the activities forged around it, set the fundation of what we proudly display as our today.

Different kinds of Costa Rican Coffee

La Carpintera Hill, resembling and island in the middle of the Central Valley, captures the goodness of the climate from the plateful, with the conditions of the highlands. These characteristic are unique for producing the best quality coffee possible. Its soil is extremely fertile. A pleasent climate all the year round with un excellent temperature for the coffee cropping, brings to the cup an exquisite balance between body, aroma and acidity.
Zone: Tres Ríos
Harvest: November through February.
Type: Strictly Hard Bean(SHB).
Altitude: 1200 - 1400 mts.

This bean comes from the volcanic mountains of Dota off the Great Mountain Range named "Talamanca" a range with rocky ladders and fertile valleys. This area is known as "Los Santos"(The Saints), whwre the catholic tradition of the country has oblidated its town and cities to adopt biblical names. The devotion of its people to ther beliefs, gives the coffee crops they offer, a unique taste of divine inspiration. Its taste in the cup has a very good body, exquisite aroma and excellent acidity.
Zone: Tarrazú
Harvest: November through February.
Type: Strictly Hard Bean(SHB).
Altitude: 1200 - 1750 mts.

In 1941. a colony of italianimmigrants decide to try and make fortune with their bare hands by colonizing this far land of the country. Today this city still posses the influence od those first settlers and teir strong character and appraisal for the goodness of the land. These coffeee can be tasted in the coffe cropped by these people, a unique string taste, but at the same time it is light and grateful, like the mountains and forest that surround this city.
Zone: Coto Brus
Harvest: October through December.
Type: Medium Hard Bean(MHB).
Altitude: 800 - 1200 mts.

This coffee is cropped in one of the oldest plantation areas due to kindness of the soil and the excellent bean quality that it produces. On the slopes of the Zurqui Hilla, close to the central Volcano Range, this beautiful, fertile, and quiet province, with a taste of the good old times, is where this unique coffee with high acidity, very good body and aroma, is produced.
Zone: Heredia
Harvest: November through February.
Type: Strictly Hard Bean(SHB).
Altitude: 1200 - 1500 mts.

This coffee, grown on a beautiful landscape, a fertile valley an a lake with crystal clear waters, near the paradise zone of Cachí in the Reventazón River Basin. All these surroundings give us the feeling of an enormous garden. This fertile land of colonial beauty, offers an exquisite coffee. The influence of the Atlantic's climate and the characteristics of the valley it self make this coffee unique. These characteristic are very well liked by Europans, Americans and Japaneses gourmet coffee drinkers. Zone: Cachí
Harvest: Octubre through December.
Type: High Grown Atlantic(HGA).
Altitude: 900 - 1200 mts.

An old story tells "...One who drinks the water of the General(General River), stays forever living in the Valle del General(General's River Valley)". This valley is surrounded by the most impressive mountains in Costa Rica. If there is a place in the whole country that symbolizes the exact words of the Costarrican National Anthem, referring to peace and work, it's San Isidro, the main city of the valley. Its coffee invites us to vey hard working people. A city developed by very humble, but prideful peasants, has made this place one of the fastest growing in both agricultural productions and economical levels. With an average temperature of 24 centigrade, this last frontier, conquered by barefooted peasants, satisfies us with a coffe with good aroma and body, and a delightful acidity in its cup. Zone: San Isidro del General
Harvest: October through December.
Type: Medium Hard Bean(MHB).
Altitude: 400 - 1200 mts.


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