When you think of delicious coffee, there are probably several countries that come to mind, including Costa Rica, despite the fact that it only produces around one percent of the world’s coffee. Costa Rica is well-known for its high-quality and uniquely flavored coffee beans. The first Costa Rican coffee beans first arrived in the United States in 1860 and have been a firm favorite among Americans ever since.
Costa Rican coffee brands can be an ideal choice for home brewing. However, with hundreds of brands available for purchasing online, it can be tricky to make sure that you are buying the best beans. If you’re not sure which ones are the best to buy, keep reading for more information about this coffee on the market right now, including all you need to know about the flavors, prices, cultivation areas, freshness, and roast levels to help you choose the best one for your preferences.
How to Find the Best Costa Rican Coffee for You
Before you start exploring the best Costa Rican coffee for you and invest in the 1kg bag of your favourite coffee option, it’s a good idea to find out more about what to look out for when you are buying this coffee. It’s important to know which features to look out for to help you sort through the different options available and make the best choice for your daily brew.
First of all, the type of bean is one important factor to think about before you buy it. There are four varieties of coffee beans, with Arabica and Robusta beans being the most important. Arabica beans are widely considered to be the highest-quality, with a subtle range of flavors and a taste that is smooth and not bitter. On the other hand, Robusta beans are easier to grow in comparison with Arabica, however, they tend to be less desirable in the coffee world since they have a higher caffeine content and a stronger flavor with more bitterness. For the best Costa Rican coffee, you should look for a blend that uses 100% Arabica beans. It's easy to do this when you are looking for Costa Rican coffee as growing Robusta beans has actually been illegal in the country since 1989.
Another bean that you may come across when buying Costa Rican coffee is peaberry beans. Rather than being a variety of coffee bean, peaberry beans are a mutation that is quite rare. While regular coffee beans grow together in a pod, peaberries are different as they produce just one bean per coffee fruit. This results in beans that are smaller and denser, along with being flavor-packed as they have been able to absorb all the nutrients from the plant rather than sharing with other beans. The mutation only affects around 5% of coffee beans around the world and they need to be picked by hand.
Any coffee bean will begin to lose flavour once roasted. This is because the beans come into contact with oxygen. Costa Rican coffee beans tend to be roasted locally before being exported to America and other countries around the world, so it’s important to check the roast date on your bag. Ideally, you should look for coffee that was roasted no more than two weeks ago.
Whether you purchase whole beans or pre-ground coffee is another important factor to consider when it comes to the freshness of the coffee. Grinding the coffee beans leads to faster oxidation which kills the freshness of the beans, so it’s always best to buy whole beans and grind them just before you brew them.
Finally, it’s important to consider the origin of your Costa Rican coffee beans before you buy. Costa Rica has a climate that is ideal for growing coffee. Costa Rica has a very comfortable location in the Bean Belt, which is the name used to refer to the section of the world where coffee grows. Between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, Costa Rica is a small country with a tropical, wet climate, fertile volcanic soil, and high-altitude mountains that are perfect for growing coffee. The coffee grown here is well-known for bright acidity, fruity and floral notes, a rich aroma, and light body.
Depending on the growing conditions in the area, coffee beans from different areas of Costa Rica can have very distinct flavors. Single-origin beans that grow in just one region are often the best choice if you want the most unique coffee flavors. Tarrazu is the most famous region for growing coffee in Costa Rica, producing distinctive beans that grow at between 4000-6000 feet. 35% of the coffee from Costa Rica is produced here, and 95% of the coffee is Strictly Hard Bean or SHB, which grows at more than 4,500 feet. These plants grow slowly and form dense beans that are full of flavor.
Best Costa Rica Coffee Beans
Now you know more about what to look out for when choosing coffee beans from Costa Rica, here are some of the best coffee brands that you can get from this country.
Café Britt Tarrazu Montecielo
If you prefer the convenience of ground coffee, Café Britt coffee Costa Rica is a great option to choose. Café Tarrazu Britt is from the famous Tarrazu region of Costa Rica and is a dark roasted option at an affordable price. Britt Costa Rican chocolate and fruity flavors are evident when you drink this coffee, and it is also SHB certified, as it is grown at more than 4,500 feet in elevation. Since it comes pre-ground, it’s not as fresh as whole bean options, but it still has plenty of flavor for a very convenient option.
Kirkland Costa Rica Whole Bean Coffee
Priced low and offering a consistent dark roast with a full, rich flavor, Kirkland’s Costa Rican whole beans are a firm favorite among coffee lovers. Although they are not single-origin, they are a great value option if you aren’t too concerned about gourmet beans. These coffee beans are excellent when they are fresh, however, the freshness can vary quite a lot as you can’t get them directly from roaster. You can usually find them for sale at either Amazon or Costco.
Teasia Costa Rican Coffee
Café Teasia single-origin Costa Rican coffee beans come full of flavor and at an attractive price. They are medium roasted, high-acid, and have a lightly fruity flavor with chocolate and caramel hints. The brew is quite smooth, without much bitterness. These beans are grown at a higher altitude than most – more than 5,000 feet to be exact. The bag includes some nice touches including a handwritten roaster’s name and the expiration date of the beans, although you don’t get the roast date included. If you want to make sure that your coffee drinking habits are doing some good, this is a good brand to choose as a portion of the profits from each bag are donated to local charities. On the downside, these beans do not ship very quickly at all so they’re not the best option for those in a rush to get their coffee – you could be waiting months for them to arrive.
Cooper’s Cask Wine Barrel-Aged Costa Rican Coffee
You can find an unusual variety of Costa Rican beans available from Cooper’s Cask – Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Barrel Aged. The medium roasted beans are honey processed, which gives a sweet complexity to the beans. They are then aged in Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels. The beans are fresh and aromatic, with unique wine flavors that add an interesting dimension to the coffee. They have a slight acidity with fruity, honey, and dark chocolate notes. While they aren’t the cheapest option available, these gourmet beans are available in either whole beans or four different grind sizes, and the unusual flavors are worth the price for anybody who loves wine and chocolate.
Volcanica Costa Rican Peaberry Coffee
If you want to try some of the best Costa Rica coffee, then this option from Volcanica is a great choice. Consistently medium roasted, these beans have a rich flavor and brew without any bitterness. They have a berry-like aroma that is very flavorful, sweet, and dense. The peaberry beans are some of the rarest coffee beans in the world and grow in rich soil at elevations of more than three thousand feet. You can expect your bag of coffee beans to arrive perfectly roasted, fresh, and aromatic as Volcanica roasts and ships their coffee beans on a daily basis. While the price for a 16oz bag is expensive compared to other Costa Rican coffees, you can’t deny that it’s quite a decent price for these single-origin, rare gourmet coffee beans.
While Costa Rica only produces 1% of the world’s coffee, it has definitely made a mark in the coffee industry. If you want to try Costa Rican coffee, these are the top brands to choose.