Quick Summary: The Best Costa Rica Coffee Beans
If you’re done with generic Brazilian coffee and tired of blends, Costa Rica coffee might just find its place in your heart. The unique growing conditions of this Central American state and its devotion to outstanding quality translate into a flavorful cuppa that’ll please even the most discerning coffee enthusiast.
We’re happy to present the most popular Costa Rica beans worthy of making it to your rotation. Here’s a quick overview of all seven before we dive deep into the details of each variety.
The Best Costa Rican Coffee Beans in 2020: Everything You Need to Know
Brazilian coffee is known for its wide adoption, Colombian entices those who enjoy a powerful flavor palette. But what does Costa Rica offer to a coffee lover? Some believe Costa Rican beans to be so mild as to taste generic and bland, while others consider them the embodiment of what a perfect cup of joe should taste like. Let’s unpack the technicalities and understand where both opinions come from to help you decide whether Costa Rica-grown beans have a place in your kitchen.
What is the best Costa Rican coffee like?
It’s 100% Arabica. In 1989, the country banned farmers from growing Robusta trees in a pledge to improve coffee quality. If anyone tries to sell Costa Rican Robusta beans to you, they are either misinformed or lying to you.
Grown above 3,000 feet. Most of over 80,000 small farms are located in the mountain ranges and enjoy volcanic soil, picture-perfect climate conditions, and a long ripening period. All this results in a mild yet bright flavor palette with medium to full body and sweet aftertaste.
It’s suitable for every brewing method. Costa Ricans prefer a variation of the pour-over method, but you can just as easily grind the beans to use with an espresso machine, French press, or cold brew.
It is usually sourced from Tarrazu or Tres Rios. These two out of the eight growing regions are considered to be the best producers of gourmet coffee beans. However, other regions and subregions may be more to your taste, so it’s worth experimenting.
While the first coffee trees were planted in Costa Rica at the end of the 18th century, the beans reached the US only a century later. Since then, their reputation has taken a few hits but has solidified over the last three decades. Single-origin varieties are often considered to be gourmet-grade to be enjoyed by coffee lovers. Still, there are plenty of affordable Costa Rica coffee brands that taste great without breaking the bank. And we’ll cover both sides of the spectrum in this shortlist.
Our Top 7 Picks for Costa Rican Coffee Brands
We’ve based our findings on official manufacturer info, online research, and personal taste-tasting experience. As always, our preferences are our own, and you’re welcome to disagree and share your opinion. Still, we’ve tried to cover the best varieties to suit every taste, from green coffee beans to the darkest roasts. If you believe we’ve missed any products that are worthy of being on this shortlist, let us know.
Coffee Beanery Costa Rican La Minita Review
- Single-origin Monteverde Arabica coffee
- A mix of washed and naturally-processed beans
This is a truly unique product for genuine coffee aficionados. The Arabica beans in this coffee are grown in the Costa-Rican Monteverde region, and they produce a bright, powerful taste. However, it’s the combination of two processing methods that results in an unparalleled taste. The washed beans produce a pleasant, mellow, full-bodied background for the fruity sweetness of the naturally-processed coffee. It’s a two-punch of delicious flavor and rich body rarely found in Central American beans.
The whole beans are packaged in beautiful 12 oz bags. However, the price might seem a bit steep, considering the availability of cheaper alternatives. The company claims the price is the result of a direct-trade model that delivers profit to the small family-owned farms across Costa Rica. Besides, a share of the profit is directed to the Artifx Origin Communities projects supporting local businesses and artists.
You won’t find many reviews, as this brand isn’t as popular as others on our shortlist. It’s worth a try if you like Costa Rican coffee and want to experiment with new flavors. Helping a good cause is also a nice touch.
La Amistad Coffee by Little River Roasting Review
- Organically grown by La Amistad Estate
- Medium roast with notes of milk chocolate
- 100% compostable one-pound packaging
If you are looking for Costa Rica organic coffee that tastes like heaven, look no further. This 100% Arabica coffee is grown by La Amistad Estate, surrounded by the Rainforest Reserve. The grower boasts zero carbon footprint, and the Arabica plants enjoy the shadow of fruit trees with no chemicals used. The washed beans are medium-roasted by Little River Roasting Co to bring out their sweetness with chocolatey notes, syrupy body, and fruity finish. It’s a great coffee to be enjoyed black or with a splash of milk or cream.
Whether you prefer your coffee ground or whole-bean, there’s an option for you. Moreover, you can choose to buy by the bag or splurge on a couple of pound bags to suit your caffeine needs. Unlike many manufacturers, this brand offers 100% compostable packaging, reducing its environmental footprint further.
Most buyers commend the outstanding taste of this coffee. The roasting is just right for most coffee lovers. However, one of the posts mentioned there’s no proof of coffee being organic anywhere on the packaging. It’s up to you whether you want to believe the manufacturer or not. Give it a try to make up your mind.
Café Britt’s Tres Rios Review
- Medium roast 100% Arabica beans
- Tres Rios Valdivia growing region
- Bright taste with plum, orange, and allspice notes
Britt is well-known for catering to true coffee gourmets with unique blends and mouth-watering single-origin beans. This product falls into the latter category, as the 100% Arabica beans are shade-grown in Costa Rican Tres Rios Valdivia region. The high elevation and distinct wet and dry seasons result in slow ripening of the coffee cherries and the complex flavor of the beans. Medium roasting brings out the coffee’s best qualities and produces a bright taste with notes of allspice, plum, and orange while the aroma holds nuances of nuts and honey.
This gourmet variety is packaged into recognizable bags, 12 oz each. The whole bean product is gluten-free and kosher, and the brand claims it has a shelf life a year long. Still, we all know that coffee tastes best within a couple of months after roasting. Make sure you check the best-before date when you purchase this product.
Most buyers compliment the taste of the coffee and make sure it’s always available in their pantries. However, some claim there’s nothing special about its taste considering the high price tag. Others complain about the burnt beans that ruin the overall flavor. If you ever come to Costa Rica, definitely give this variety a try or just order a bag online to decide for yourself whether this is indeed the best bean Central America has to offer.
Dark Costa Rican Tarrazu by Coffee Bean Direct Review
- 100% Tarrazu-grown Arabica beans
- Slow-roasted for nuanced flavor
- Dark roast with a pronounced smokiness
Whatever good things you’ve heard about Costa Rican coffee, all of that and more applies to Tarrazu-grown beans. It’s the country’s biggest producer of high-quality coffee. It’s no surprise Coffee Bean Direct chose this region to source the beans for the smoky dark roast. Their slow roasting process is well-suited for the beans grown at high altitude, as they maintain the complexity of the flavor while losing acidity and gaining toasty undertones. The resulting cuppa will blow you away with the combination of honey, chocolate, and citrus notes.
This variety is roasted right before packaging to preserve the fresh flavor and aroma. The signature bags are 16 oz each, but you can buy the coffee in bulk in packs of three once you’re sure this is the one you want to stock up on.
This is not the most popular of Coffee Bean Direct products, and it’s a shame. We haven’t found a single negative review, but there are plenty of positive posts. It seems like a great choice for people who appreciate the finer things in life. Give it a try, and you’ll thank us for the recommendation!
Volcanica Costa Rica Peaberry Coffee Review
- 100% Tres Rios-grown Arabica beans
- A mild, flavourful, and sweet taste
- Available in whole bean and a variety of ground versions
Volcanica is renowned for its gourmet bean options, and this variety is no exception. The peaberry beans only make for 5% of the overall amount grown, so it’s an expensive rarity available for your drinking pleasure. Sourced from the single estate in the Tres Rios region, the beans are grown at an altitude above 5,200 feet. The unique climate conditions of the Pacific coast and the volcanic soil produce a mild yet flavorful coffee, sweet and bright. The medium roast is perfectly suited to bring out the best qualities of this particular variety.
You can’t go wrong with Volcanica, as they are always happy to please the discerning coffee lover. Besides the whole-bean option, you’ve got espresso, French press, and drip grinds to choose from. And if the price seems a bit steep, you can always go with a 3-pack of 16 oz bags or invest in a 5-pound bag. The latter option might seem like an overkill unless you’re a true peaberry fan or want to stock up for the whole family of coffee-lovers.
Many reviewers claim this variety to be the best coffee they’ve ever tasted, which says a lot. Of course, there are negative reviews too, like there are for any product. Some buyers believe the taste is too mild and weak compared to other brands. Considering this coffee is marketed to be mild and sweet, it’s likely some buyers’ expectations are misplaced. We highly recommend you try this variety, especially if you’re new to the peaberry-lovers crowd.
Fresh Roasted Brand Costa Rican Review
- Medium roasted, Tarrazu-grown 100% Arabica beans
- Mild-bodied with notes of chocolate and honey
- Available in bags of 12 oz, two and five pounds
If you want to give Costa Rican beans a try, but aren’t sure where to start, this is a perfect option for you. Tarrazu-grown Arabica coffee is considered to be one of the best-tasting in the world. It’s mild, yet flavorful with subtle notes of honey and chocolate and without excessive acidity or bitterness. The medium roast is suitable for every brewing method, and the whole bean option can be ground to suit your espresso machine or French press.
One of the things we absolutely love about this coffee is its versatility. If you’re trying it for the first time, go with a 12 oz bag of whole bean or ground version. When you know this is the one for you, switch to a 2-pound or a 5-pound bag depending on the number of coffee lovers in your household. The bigger bag you get, the more unbeatable the price tag becomes.
Considering the number of adoring reviews, this might just be the No1 Costa Rican coffee on this shortlist. Most buyers are in love with the complex flavor without excessive bitterness. The only post that has us worried is the one about inconsistent bean quality, though this issue is easy to resolve by getting in touch with the seller. Overall, it’s our top recommendation! If you ignore every other variety, try this one, as it’s the most likely to suit your discerning taste.
Sweet Maria's Green Costa Rican Coffee Beans Review
- 100% Dota-grown green Arabica beans
- Suitable for City+ to Vienna roasting
- Full-bodied flavor with cocoa and caramel notes
If you’re a hard-core coffee enthusiast and prefer to roast the beans on your own instead of relying on mass production, Sweet Maria’s products are right up your alley. The Costa Rica beans are sourced from the small subregion of Dota situated next to Tarrazu. The high elevation of the plantations coupled with volcanic soil results in a well-rounded taste with strong cocoa and caramel notes.
The final flavor profile will depend on the roasting. The producer recommends City+ to Vienna roasting. Increased roasting time makes chocolate notes stand out more and introduces pleasant toasty nuances. This variety is perfect for espresso, though you might enjoy it with a French press or a drip coffee maker too.
It’s challenging to find feedback on this product, as it’s aimed at true coffee enthusiasts. The overall impression we got is highly positive. Still, the green beans may be out of stock, and roasting them might not be your preferred pastime. It’s a worthy investment if you want to master roasting; otherwise, consider our previous recommendations.
What Makes Coffee in Costa Rica Different?Coffee is similar to wine when it comes to taste. It’s not only the soil composition but also the climate and the amount of rain that influences the taste of the drink. Costa Rica boasts nearly perfect conditions for growing coffee trees with moderate temperatures, enough rainfall, and volcanic soil. The high elevation (over 3,000 feet) is also a factor. The slow ripening of the coffee cherries lets the beans mature and develop complex flavor and aroma notes you won’t find in coffee grown at lower altitudes.
What’s the Best Coffee in Costa Rica?Considering 90% of the coffee grown in Costa Rica is exported, the answer depends on a variety of factors. Some consider Tarrazu-grown beans to be the best, while others think Tres Rios to be true gourmet heaven. We’ve selected seven popular varieties for this shortlist, and they represent the full range of Costa Rican beans. If you find another brand to be to your taste, please, share your choice.
Will I Like Coffee from Costa Rica?Costa Rican coffee is renowned for its complex taste with mild acidity and no discernible bitterness (unless it’s a dark roast). It’s not for you if you crave a caffeine boost with a powerful sour or bitter aftertaste. However, if you prefer your coffee black and can appreciate the nuanced flavor, Costa Rica might just be the perfect single-origin bean source for you. Just remember that roast quality affects the taste too, and give a couple of roasters a try before you decide against Costa Rican beans.
How Do I Brew Costa Rican Coffee?If you buy whole bean coffee, you can grind it to suit your preferred brewing style. Local connoisseurs prefer a variation of the pour-over method using Chorreador de cafe. However, it tastes just as well when brewed in a French press, a Moka pot, or an espresso maker. Cold brewing is also a great option, though the taste might seem too mild. Experiment with different grinding settings and brewing styles, and you’ll find the perfect one for you soon!
How Common Is Costa Rican Coffee?Despite its modest size, the country is among the top-20 coffee producers globally. Compared to Brazil or Colombia, Costa Rican output seems almost negligible, but it still makes for around 1% of global production. That means that only one in a hundred cups of coffee sold worldwide comes from this Central American country.
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The Verdict. What Are the Best Costa Rican Coffee Beans?
It was a nearly impossible task to select one variety among seven great contenders, considering the different roasting styles, growing regions, and reviews. Still, we’ve found our favorite, and that’s Fresh Roasted Coffee Costa Rica Tarrazu Coffee. Its mild flavor with honey and chocolate notes is perfect, whether you take it black or supplement it with milk or cream. The whole bean version is an ideal choice for those who enjoy different brewing styles. You can get a fine powder for your espresso machine or a French press grind for your cold brew. Once you’re sure this is the coffee for you, there’s no need to settle for a measly 12 oz bag. You can invest in a 5-pound package and work through it over a few months. Try it out, and you will fall in love with Costa Rican coffee at first sip!