Costa Rican Tarrazu:
Due south of San José you will find the majestic mountains of Tarrazú. Sheltered between the Pacific Coast, the Central Valley and the high peaks of the country’s central mountain range, Tarrazú is one of the world’s most famous coffee growing regions.
Costa Rica contributes less than 1% of the world’s coffee production. However, the Tarrazu region, West Valley in particular, has a high percentage of Cup of Excellence winners. Cup of Excellence is the Super Bowl of coffee competitions.
Regional climatic attributes:
In Costa Rica, the grade of coffee is determined by the hardness of the bean, a factor which is dictated by the altitude at which the beans are grown. Highest grade coffees are labeled Strictly Hard Bean (SHB) which is reserved for coffee grown above 3,900-feet.
This magnificent area, fondly known as the Area of the Saints, is considered to yield the most superb Strictly Hard Bean coffees in Costa Rica, grown at altitudes between 1,112 masl / (3,650 ft) and 1,798 masl / (5,900 ft).
The average temperature is around 19.4°C / (67°F) and ranges between 14.4°C / (58°F) and 24°C / (75°F). The average rainfall is about 1,270mm / (50 in) per year. Dry season is Dec to April and wet season is May to Nov.
The rich volcanic soil, the high altitude, as well as the perfect combination of sunlight, temperature, and precipitation provide the essential components to produce an exceptional coffee.
In recent years, a development that has helped Costa Rican coffee producers differentiate themselves is the proliferation of micro mills, or private wet- and sometimes dry-milling facilities that individual producers or groups of smallholders build in order to control the processing and lot separation of their coffees.
By investing in equipment such as depulpers or demucilaging machines, producers can harvest, depulp, and process their coffees in a variety of ways without relying on third-party mills, which can cut down on operating costs as well as increase the asking price for coffees.
Micromills on Costa Rica have innovated a process called honey processing, a kind of hybrid of a washed and pulped-natural process that has been more popular and prevalent among fine, lot-separated specialty coffees, though the term “honey” and its variations will vary from mill to mill based on their techniques. At some mills, the type of honey process (typically yellow, red, or black) is achieved by removing a certain percentage of the mucilage before the coffee is dried; other mills leave 100% of the mucilage on all their honey coffees, and instead modify the drying technique to create the various honey style.
Characteristics of Costa Rica – Tarrazu Coffee:
- Aroma: Intense, Fragrant, Brown Sugar
- Flavor: Citrus, Tropical Fruit, Apricot
- Body: Round
- Acidity: Lively, Bright
Coffee was planted in Costa Rica in the late 1700s. It was the first Central American country to have a fully established coffee industry. By the 1820s, coffee was a major agricultural export. . National output was greatly increased by the completion of a main road to Puntarenas in 1846, allowing farmers to more readily bring their coffee from their farms to market in oxcarts—which remained the way most small farmers transported their coffee until the 1920s.
In 1933, the national coffee association, Icafe (Instituto del Café de Costa Rica), was established to assist with the agricultural and commercial development of the Costa Rican coffee market.