The 5 Best Costa Rican Coffee 2020 Picks

Most coffee-producing countries take pride in their beans, and Costa Rica is no exception. Coffee from Costa Rica Is known to be rich, completed by complex flavors and vibrant acidity. It’s likely a departure from your regular beans, that’s for sure.

Coffee is a significant part of Costa Rica’s history, and the country is renowned for growing some of the highest quality Arabica beans on the planet.

In this article, we’re diving into Costa Rica’s coffee culture, and we’re detailing the best Costa Rican coffee beans money can buy!

Alternatives at a glance

Best Premium Coffee
Costa Rica Geisha Coffee

With a third lower than average caffeine content Geisha coffee is flavorful without being overpowering. Accompanied by sweet and floral scents it makes a deeply satisfying brew.

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Super Sweet
Costa Rican Tarrazu Coffee | Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC

Notes of honey and chocolate. Perfect if you’ve got a sweet tooth!

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Best Organic Option
Organic Costa Rica Cumbres del Poas | FRC – Fresh Roasted Coffee

A citrus explosion followed by a clean finish. Perfect in a pour over!

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Best Variety Pack
Café Britt - Costa Rican Origins Coffee Bundle
$41.85 ($1.16 / Ounce)

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4 Interesting Costa Rica Coffee Facts

A Central American First

Today, Central America is one of the world’s top coffee-growing regions, and it’s come a long way since coffee was first embraced in Costa Rica.

The Arabica varietal was first introduced in the late 1700s with the coffee beans originating in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. Costa Rica has the perfect conditions to grow this variety, especially along its central valley.

Ethiopia to costa rica map

Coffee became the country’s only export from 1846 to 1890. The Costa Rican government even offered land titles for farmers who cultivated coffee. Costa Rican coffee was imported all over the world, but with the UK being its primary customer. It is prized for its excellent quality and complex taste, which we explain below.

Known For High-Quality Brews

8 regions in Costa Rica cultivate coffee beans, and they are all situated in the country’s Central Valley. Each zone can yield a difference in flavor, but a factor consistent in all of them is that they have the optimal growing conditions for Arabica.

Fertile soil, high altitude, adequate rainfall, and cooler temperatures are a must-have for Arabica coffee, and this is found all across Costa Rica. This leads to a slower maturity rate for the coffee’s cherries, which increases the sugar in each bean. 

It’s common to see Costa Rican coffees on the higher end of the quality spectrum, and it’s because of the country’s strict regulations and the great care taken for growing coffee.

8 regions in Costa Rica cultivate coffee beans, and they are all situated in the country’s Central Valley.

Costa Rica coffee planation location map

Each zone can yield a difference in flavor, but a factor consistent in all of them is that they have the optimal growing conditions for Arabica.

Fertile soil, high altitude, adequate rainfall, and cooler temperatures are a must-have for Arabica coffee, and this is found all across Costa Rica. This leads to a slower maturity rate for the coffee’s cherries, which increases the sugar in each bean. 

It’s common to see Costa Rican coffees on the higher end of the quality spectrum, and it’s because of the country’s strict regulations and the great care taken for growing coffee.

If you’re looking to brew a high-quality coffee bean, make sure that it’s Arabica.

Robusta Is Literally Illegal

Robusta is another coffee varietal that can thrive easily compared to Arabica coffee beans. It is also known for its caffeine content and usage in blends. Most coffee growing regions cultivate Robusta beans in some form, but it’s a different story in Costa Rica.

Since 1988, Costa Rican coffee farmers can only grow Arabica beans as mandated by the government. This is the only country where a decree prohibits Robusta bean production, and it has helped Costa Rica become the 13th largest coffee bean producer in the world.

With the country’s long history and perfect growing conditions, Costa Rica’s exclusivity for the sweeter and flavorful variety has established its reputation for coffee beans in the highest quality.

Traditionally Brewed In A Coffee Sock (Chorreador)

Coffee and sock, you’ll barely hear these words in your everyday conversation. It sounds weird, but it is a brewing method traditionally used in Costa Rica.

chorreador pour over

Also known as a Chorreador, The name comes from the word “Chorrear”, which means to drip or to trickle. The Spanish name for this brewing method is called “aguas de medias” which translates to sock water. 

Doesn’t sound too appetizing, but it is the Costa Rican version of a pour-over!Instead of a paper filter, Costa Ricans use sock-like elongated piece cotton called a bolsita.

The mouth of the bolsita is kept open by a circular wire or a wooden rim, and it is placed on a wooden stand. The stand also holds your cup or vessel.

The 5 Best Costa Rican Coffees 2020

1. Volcanica Coffee’s Costa Rica Peaberry Coffee 

What’s a Peaberry? Well, a regular coffee cherry typically has two beans. Whereas the Peaberry only contains one. As a result, coffees brewed from a Peaberry are often sweeter than a regular cup as they contain double the acids.

These Peaberry beans sourced by Volcanica from the Tres Rios region in Costa Rica are flavourful and great to brew with. More generally, The Tres Rios region is also known as the “Bordeaux of Costa Rica“. This is because of the flavorful and bright coffee that is found growing all across the region. 

The Peaberry might be smaller than your average coffee bean, but it still managed to pack in a lot of flavors. This medium roasted coffee certainly highlights the fruity notes packed in every bean with just a small hint of cocoa in its finish.

This Costa Rican coffee is also shade-grown and Rainforest Alliance Certified so you’ll have the peace of mind that these coffee beans were cultivated sustainably.

The Volcanica Costa Rica Peaberry is a must if you’re looking for an uncomplicated yet delicious cup of coffee.

2. Fresh Roasted Coffee’s Costa Rica Tarrazu Coffee

The mountainous region where this coffee bean hails from is the most popular coffee growing region in Costa Rica, and there’s a good reason why. The Tarrazu region has the perfect blend of high altitude, rainfall, and temperature for Arabica beans to thrive.

Super Sweet
Costa Rican Tarrazu Coffee | Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC

Notes of honey and chocolate. Perfect if you’ve got a sweet tooth!

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Fresh Roasted Coffee’s Tarrazu single origin is a good example of why these conditions can make a delicious and mild-bodied cup of coffee.

The coffee’s bright acidity blends well with its tasting notes of chocolate and honey. It’s medium roasted, which gives your coffee a medium body with little to no bitterness.

These coffee beans are highly adaptable with different brewing methods too. I’ve tried it with a French press, which resulted in a heavier body and flavors that lean towards dark cocoa. Brewing it as a pour-over gave me a light cup of coffee with a small hint of cherry. Either way, it’s a delicious single-origin!

If you’re looking for Costa Rican coffee beans that can be brewed in different ways, look no further than Fresh Roasted Coffee’s Tarrazu.

3. Volcanica Coffee’s Costa Rica Geisha Coffee

The famed Geisha coffee beans are one of the best coffee beans globally, known for its complex taste and rarity. Volcanica offers this flavorful single-origin, which was first cultivated in Costa Rica in the 1950s.

Best Premium Coffee
Costa Rica Geisha Coffee

With a third lower than average caffeine content Geisha coffee is flavorful without being overpowering. Accompanied by sweet and floral scents it makes a deeply satisfying brew.

SEE PRICE NOW Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

The Geisha’s quality and the optimal growing conditions of Costa Rica combine to produce a high-quality cup with complex flavors. Its medium roast profile gives this coffee a gentle acidity that can remind you of citrus fruits.

The coffee’s unique taste can range from fruity notes with a hint of lavender and jasmine and a lingering finish of cocoa. These Costa Rican coffee beans are best enjoyed as black coffee to savor all the nuanced flavors found in each bean.

Volcanica’s Costa Rican Geisha lives up to its namesake reputation, and it’s a must-try for coffee lovers who want high-quality coffee right at home.

4. Fresh Roasted Coffee’s Organic Costa Rica Cumbres del Poas

Another contender from Fresh Roasted Coffee, this Costa Rican coffee comes in with a one-two punch of citrus flavors and a smooth mouthfeel in every bean.

Best Organic Option
Organic Costa Rica Cumbres del Poas | FRC – Fresh Roasted Coffee

A citrus explosion followed by a clean finish. Perfect in a pour over!

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These Costa Rican coffee beans are ethically sourced from a micro mill run by coffee veterans, Oscar Chacon and Dona Francisca. Personally ensuring that their coffee is certified organic and processed in an eco-friendly way.

Fresh Roasted Coffee gives these beans a medium roast profile which results in a mild body with an acidity that will make you salivate for more! Its tasting notes range from oranges, cherries, and peach blossoms with a clean finish.

If the sound of fruity Costa Rican coffee sounds good to you, then this might be the best coffee beans for you.

5. Cafe Britt’s Costa Rica Origins Coffee Bundle 

If you find it hard to choose one type of Costa Rican coffee beans, well, why not get three types instead?

Founded in 1985, Cafe Britt is the first gourmet coffee roaster that caters to the country’s local market. These single-origin beans come from three distinct coffee producing regions in Costa Rica.

Best Variety Pack
Café Britt - Costa Rican Origins Coffee Bundle
$41.85 ($1.16 / Ounce)

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The Tarrazu has a medium-dark roast profile highlighting the chocolatey flavors and gives the coffee a heavier body and smoky taste. Perfect flavors if you prefer your coffee with milk.

Coffee from the Poas volcanic region is noted for its earthy flavors and these medium to dark roast beans add floral notes and hints of lemon in your cup of coffee.

Cafe Britt has expertly roasted their Tres Rios beans for a balanced acidity with flavors reminding you of allspice, plum, and oranges while having a nutty and sweet aroma.

If you’re looking for a way to enjoy all the flavors that coffee from Costa Rica can offer in your own home, this bundle is a good choice.

Brewing Costa Rican Coffees

You might have decided which beans you’ll prefer, but one thing to consider is the best way to brew your coffee.

Costa Rica coffee is versatile and can be brewed in many different ways. As with any beans, consider the roast before deciding on the brewing style as a light roast results in a completely different taste profile compared to a dark roast.

The Coffee Sock AKA Chorreador

If you’re looking for the complete Costa Rican coffee experience, you can brew your coffee beans with a Chorreador. As mentioned above, it is essentially Costa Rica’s version of a pour-over. You can check it out below:

The Chorreador
Chorreador Coffee Stand with Reusable Coffee Sock
$65.00
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Just place the bolsita on top and your mug at the bottom, fill the cloth filter with your preferred Costa Rican beans and pour in hot water slowly as you would a pour-over.

This brewing method gives you a nice middle ground between traditional pour overs and the French press’s immersive qualities. The coffee’s natural oil seeps through a bit more into your brew because of the cloth filter. 

This results in a stronger cup of coffee while retaining the bean’s flavors, so it’s best used with light or medium roasted coffee to avoid an overly bitter flavor.

French Press

French Press coffees have a bolder flavor compared to other brewing methods. 

The coffee’s natural oils seep through to your brew because of how the coffee is immersed and strained. Typical brewing time for the French Press is around 2 to 4 minutes, and it will depend on your preferred coffee’s strength.

A light or medium roast is recommended for this brewing method. A dark roast might lead to an oilier and bitter cup of coffee if you use a French Press.

Costa Rican coffee beans tend to be delicate, so brewing using a french press can give it a heavier body and pronounced flavors. If you want to have your coffee similar to hot cocoa, Fresh Roasted Coffee’s Costa Rica Tarrazu is the perfect bean for this.

Pour Over

A pour-over can highlight the distinct flavors in your coffee compared to other brewing methods. The paper filter used can retain the coffee’s oils leading to a cleaner and lighter brew.

Ideally, you want a lighter roast to fully appreciate the complexity of the brew this way since the brewing methods emphasize the nuanced flavors in the bean. These flavors might be lost in dark roast coffees because of the cooking process.

It is a good pick for Costa Rica coffees we’ve discussed above, too, as most of them are bright and complex brews. 

In particular, Volcanica’s Geisha beans make an excellent pour-over coffee since the beans have intricate flavors, and its medium roast profile gives it a medium body. You might think you’re biting into a crisp fruit instead of drinking a cup of coffee!

Espresso

What makes espresso different from other brewing methods is a high temperature, pressure, and a fine grind size for your coffee. It is essentially coffee concentrate jam-packed with all the coffee’s flavors in every sip.

A medium or dark roast is more suited for espressos since they can withstand the pressure used in the method without resulting in an overall sour brew.

Speaking of medium roasted coffee, Volcanica’s Costa Rican Peaberry is perfect for espressos, which intensifies the coffee’s natural flavors found in each bean.

The Final Verdict

For me, the best Costa Rican coffee beans are Volcanica Coffee’s Costa Rican Peaberry coffee. Its rich taste and sweetness found in each bean make an excellent espresso.

However, if you’re looking for Costa Rica coffee that has a well-balanced taste, we recommend the Tarrazu single-origin from Fresh Roasted Coffee. You can brew these beans in different ways, but one thing’s for sure you’ll have one delicious cup.

Runner Up
Costa Rican Tarrazu Coffee | Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC

Notes of honey and chocolate. Perfect if you’ve got a sweet tooth!

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Costa Rica’s beans are renowned the whole world over, so don’t worry about what to pick. Whichever you’ll choose, you’re in for a coffee adventure.

Philip Daniel Felongco

Philip Felongco

Ex-Barista and now coffee writer

A life long coffee drinker, Philip has been looking for new ways to enjoy coffee since he started in the coffee industry in 2017. His favorite coffee is a light roast Rwandan single origin. If he’s not binging on food shows or trying out new coffee recipes, you can catch him here at Sip Coffee!