Costa Rica, known to some as the Switzerland of Central America, is an exception in almost every aspect, and this makes for exceptional coffee. Lying between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica straddles the Central American isthmus at one of the narrowest points and is buffeted by the winds of the Pacific and the breezes of the Caribbean. Putting it all together and translating that is coffee, the third largest export.
Partly due to the unique geographic characteristics of the country, Costa Rica is becoming an ecotourism hotspot. With an undulating landscape punctuated with volcanos, this attention to maintaining a healthy environment has benefits for those of us who are only able to sample the nation through its coffee. The rich soils and delicate weather conditions make for a refined bean, who’s flavours are rich, without being overpowering.
However, coffee is also the product of the people who grow and pick it. With a highly educated workforce, a stable democracy and lack of outside aggressors, Costa Rica is one of the most developed nations in the Americas. Identified as the greenest country in the world, by 2021, all of Costa Rica’s power will be from renewable sources. Combining this care of the environment with a focus on the people who live in it has led to a focus not on mass production of coffee beans, as has occurred elsewhere in the world, but of producing the best bean possible.
While the global expansion of coffee growing made observers wonder whether Costa Rica would be able to continue producing a high quality crop at a competitive cost, we’re glad that there has been a way through these global complications. If you select a single origin for your own brew, or start serving it in a café, know that you are preserving a coffee making tradition that supports the environment and the people who live in it.