Insight from our Master Coffee Importer
Costa Rican coffees set the standard for washed (wet processed) bright Central American coffees in both the bean and at the mill. Costa Rican coffees are exceptionally high grown in amazing volcanic soil. These two factors come together to produce a very bright and very clean cup. The best Costas are the cups that develop a bit of berry fruitiness to compliment the straight-out brightness. Costa Rican coffees serve as an excellent bright single origin coffee and will definitely add life to various blends. Additionally, these slower grown, dense, high altitude beans can take the heat of a French roast.
Another amazing feature of Costa Rican coffees is the human touch at the beneficios (mills.) where the processing and milling of coffee approaches a level of artistry not easily surpassed. Besides immaculately clean mills, which are the standard, the efficiency and beauty of the inner workings of the mill amaze.
For example, with strict Costa Rican environmental laws, wastewater from the fermentation tanks is treated with natural bacteria to break down the acidity reducing the pH back to levels that are tolerable for the streams and rivers of the country. By using the wood from pruned old coffee trees, along with the parchment from dry milling, many mills do not use a single stick of outside wood to fire the mechanical dryers. Some of the more inventive mills actually use the methane gasses produced when the bacteria breaks down the fermented pulp to fire the dryers. Finally, sun-dried coffees, of course, are just simple solar powered. All in all, the mills are an impressive sight, from the small single estate to the largest cooperatives.