Costa Rica owes its infrastructure and even many cultural monuments to coffee cultivation. From 1846 to 1890, coffee was the only export good of the Central American country. Wet processing was introduced at this time and by the beginning of the 20th century, 200 Washing Stations were already in operation. With the cultivation of coffee, the growing population also spread to the rural regions of the country. Farmers were looking for new agricultural land that was also suitable for growing coffee and reached geographic boundaries.
In general, coffee is mostly grown by small farmers who sell their coffee cherries to washing stations for further processing. However, over the last couple of years, many small farmers built their own Micromills and work directly with exporters. In the harvest year 2017/18, a total of 1.6 million 60kg bags of green coffee were produced in Costa Rica, out of which more than 60% were exported.
Coffee from the Tarrazú region has long stood for quality and convinces with its intense body with hints of lime and tangerine. In this growing area the highest coffee farms can be found. Central Valley looks back on the longest tradition in coffee growing. The most densely populated region, where the capital San José is located, stands for chocolaty coffees with fruity notes and honey aromas. The West Valley is home to some of Costa Rica's most complex coffees, which, in addition to their notes of chocolate, also convince with orange, peach, honey and vanilla.
The growing real estate industry in Costa Rica is making coffee cultivation more and more scarce. As a result, over the past 20 years, the country's output has fallen by more than half. We see the future of coffee from Costa Rica in the specialty coffee sector. Already, Costa Rica is a rolemodel in terms of cultivation and processing methods for many countries.
Both Costa Rica and Guatemala are struggling with the consequences of climate change. Although rising temperatures allow the cultivation of coffee in higher growing areas, the low-lying areas are increasingly struggling with rust.
New rust-resistant varieties were introduced to tackle the problem. In the Lowlands, more and more crossings with the variety Villa Sarchi and Catimor (Sarchimor) are being carried out in order to get a grip on the rust disease in the long term.