Costa Rica´s coffee: 8 regions, 8 flavors



Costa Rica´s coffee is one of the best! You will appreciate this when traveling to other countries. But you surely realize it when you taste our premium coffee. For costa ricans and frequent  travelers see coffee farms is something common. But, did you know that Costa Rican coffee’s flavor changes depending on its geographical zone?

Costa Rica has a particular landscape: mountains, valleys, microclimates and different kinds of soil. Each aspect determines the coffee flavor. The ICAFE (Costa Rica Coffee Institute) has been studying all this distinctions and that´s how we have eight regions for our coffee, each one with its very own  characteristics.  Here’s a list with descriptions of each flavor, maybe next time you buy coffee you could use this little guide:

  • Central Valley: This coffee grows in places like Atenas, Orotina, Puriscal, Heredia, Escazú. It has chocolaty and fruity tastes.
  • Tres Ríos: They say this coffee is the most balanced cup, because the region has the best conditions. But coffee farms are disappearing, replaced by houses and condos. Sweet notes, good body and aftertaste, known as the Costa Rica’s Bordeaux.
  • Turrialba: Weather in this zone is rainy. Coffee plants bloom 10 times a year. Light and soft body.
  • Brunca: These are two very productive counties: Coto Brus and Pérez Zeledón.  Sweet and citrus flavors.
  • Guanacaste: This region has few highlands, so coffee is not common there, but it has some and its coffee flavor is soft and fruity. I love to find and taste unique Guanacaste coffee.
  • Tarrazú: This zone is the most famous one. Its name has transcended our boundaries. Tarrazú is a highlands region where the coffee plants grow and give the final product its characteristic acidity (I love it!). Tarrazú is also a very aromatic coffee, intense. My first love with coffee was with this region full of small but passionate producers.
  • Orosí: The hillsides of Orosí Valley are cultivated with coffee. There coffee has floral, bitter notes, perfect for espresso. My suggestion: Go there (the landscape is amazing) and have a cup of their coffee, an unforgettable experience.
  • West Valley: This region is known by producing gourmet coffee. Some of its precious beans were auctioned and sold by a thousand dollars per quintal. Like Tarrazú coffee, they have won many awards like The Cup of Excellence. The fruits of this noble coffee produce a well balanced, complex and aromatic cup. This one is on my favorites too.

Do you want more info? You can visit the Costa Rica Coffee site, made by ICAFE and see all the aspects, history and flavor details. But the best advice from me is to take the time and taste every region. It’s like traveling through Costa Rica and our history.

ICAFE, Costa Rica coffee regions.

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