top of page

Costa Rica Filter Coffee and Its History

Coffee production in the country began in 1779 in Meseta Central, which has ideal soil and climatic conditions for coffee plantations. In the 19th century and following the country's independence from Spain in 1821, the Costa Rican government strongly encouraged coffee production. The municipal government provided free coffee seeds to encourage this, and records show that there were about seventeen thousand trees in Costa Rica at the time.

The Costa Rican government has consistently supported the farmers; In 1825, coffee was exempt from certain taxes, and six years later, in 1831, the government decided that anyone who had grown coffee on fallow land for five years could claim ownership of the land. Costa Rica was the first Central American country to have a coffee industry. It was first imported into Europe via Arabia (hence its name) and was introduced directly from Ethiopia to Costa Rica. Arabica coffee is at the heart of coffee production in Costa Rica, so much so that Robusta coffee was made illegal by the Costa Rican government in 1989 - this speaks volumes about how the country is committed to exceptional quality and high value #coffee.

If you're new to specialty coffee and need a place to start your tasting journey, you can't go wrong with freshly roasted coffee beans from Costa Rica. The first coffee exports to England were made via Chile in 1832 under the name Café Valparaiso. From 1846 to 1890, coffee was Costa Rica's only export and remains a very important product.

In 1843 Costa Rica was exporting directly to the United Kingdom via Guernseyman William Le Lacheur, captain of the British ship The Monarch. Soon after, this British invested more and more in Costa Rica, and this relationship led to the establishment of the Anglo-Costa Rican Bank in 1863 - providing financing for the growth of the industry. The British were the main customer of exports until the Second World War.

For nearly fifty years, between 1846 and 1890, the only export of the country was coffee. Coffee has transformed the Costa Rican economy, with the creation of the railroad funding infrastructures such as the “Ferrocarril al Atlántico” that connects the country to the Atlantic, as well as the San Juan de Dios Hospital.

More funding was now available for young academics wishing to study in Europe, and the National Theater in San José is a product of the first coffee farmers in the country.

Costa Rica is today a small coffee producing country, exporting about 1.8 million 60kg bags versus Brazil's 45 million. However, a focus on quality is an ongoing ethos in Costa Rica, and in more recent years many manufacturers that once sold to their local mills have now built their own micro mills. This allowed the farmers to be innovative and work to produce a high standard of product.

There are more than 50,000 coffee growers in Costa Rica, of which about 90% are small producers of less than 5 hectares (12 acres) each. Micromills allowed single producers or small groups of farmers to process their own beans, control their crops and add value to their crops, and trade directly with buyers around the world. Traceability to buyers and roasters around the world is exceptional, not just directly to the farm, but in some cases to an individual slope or side of that farm.

Land ownership by coffee growers is extremely common in Costa Rica, with 90% of the producers owning their own small to medium farms. This has helped younger generations maintain family farms despite volatile markets – a trend that is unfortunately not common around the world. (It also makes it possible to trace most Costa Rican coffees back to an individual farm or particular cooperative).

Costa Rica is considered the most developed and safest of the Central American countries. Ecotourism is growing from year to year, with many tours of coffee farms. It's a great opportunity for both coffee farming communities and the country to get a close-up view of how coffee farming works, with overnight stays in some fields.

Costa Rica has the luxury of eight different coffee regions that produce its distinctive coffee flavor. The diversity of climate in #Costa Rica means there is a wide variety of microclimates and humidity. This is the perfect environment to grow different varieties of coffee beans.

Typical Arabica coffee varieties produced are: Typica, Caturra, Catuai, Villa Sarchi, Bourbon & Gesha.

More about Arabica coffee and its growing medium

Arabica coffee beans come from sensitive plants that need certain climatic conditions, high altitudes and mild temperatures to thrive. The mountainous regions and warm weather provide Costa Rica the perfect environment to grow top quality Arabica beans.


There are only two seasons in Costa Rica - both of which provide the perfect environment for growing coffee.rainy season and rainy season. Throughout the year, the temperature only fluctuates around 10 degrees, from 17 to 28°C (63 to 80°F).

Heavy rains and high altitudes make for ideal farmland and a breathtaking backdrop for Costa Rica. More than 70% of the coffee grown in Costa Rica is in mountainous regions with varying altitudes. The soil is enriched with volcanic ash, which oxygenates the beans and gives them a much richer flavor. All these factors affect Costa Rica's coffee, its aroma, body, aroma and acidity.

You can get this amazing coffee now with 20% off via Top Roasters.


bottom of page