Costa Rica Coffee Beans Grown in Micro-Mills

by That's Coffee on May 18, 2011

Costa Rican coffee farmers set the standards for the rest of Central and South America for wet-processed coffee. Coffee production plays an important role in Costa Rica’s economy, being the third largest export and employing almost 30% of the labor force.

The Beginnings

The soil and climate conditions in Costa Rica are near ideal for coffee production. In the late 1700’s, the Costa Rican government began encouraging coffee production after being introduced to the plant by Ethiopia. Local farmers were offered plots of land for harvesting the plants.

Over the years, coffee bean production has prospered  in Costa Rica. Recently, urban sprawl is beginning to have negative effects on the beans. Cities are expanding into the countryside and land is becoming more valuable. Costa Rican coffee plantation owners are often lured or forced into selling their property to larger corporations.

Despite the rising costs of land, Costa Rica coffee production is spurred on by small coffee mills often referred to as micro-mills. The small operations allow farmers authority over the growing and processing of the beans and the freedom to produce great tasting coffee.

Wet-Processed Coffee – What’s it all About?

Costa Rica is known for their wet-process. Once the cherries are harvested from the coffee plant, the fruit covering is removed and the remaining seed and surrounding pulp are washed. It can require specific equipment and significant amounts of water (about 130 liters per one kilogram of coffee).

The beans can be de-pulped in a ferment and wash procedure that must be carefully monitored as to not acquire sour flavors. Alternatively, a machine-assisted process avoids fermentation and instead uses mechanical scrubbers to remove any remaining pulp.

Once washed, the beans are spread out in the sun to air dry. Constant raking is required to prevent mildew from forming and to promote an even, consistent dry. The dried Costa Rican beans are ready to have the crumbly parchment skin removed and to be shipped to the roasting plant.

Taste

Professional coffee cuppers classify Costa Rican coffee as clean with a bright and not-bland taste. The high elevations in Costa Rice (3,900 + feet) slows down the maturity process in the coffee plant, creating a hard and dense coffee bean that locks in rich flavors, which is passed on to brewed coffee.

To taste the rich flavors produced by hard Costa Rican coffee beans, try some of the most popular varieties:

Costa Rica Reserve – a highly sought after and admired coffee which is wonderfully aromatic and balanced with a robust acidity

Costa Rica Decaf Gourmet Coffee – mountain grown taste of hard Costa Rican beans while naturally decaffeinated

“Costa Rican Coffee Beans”
courtesy of
your online coffee bean store;
Gourmet Coffee Beans

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