Coffee plays an important role in both the history and culture of Costa Rica, and tourists interested in the aromatic brew can learn about the country's coffee on a tour of a working plantation.
How It All Began
Coffee was first introduced in the region in 1798, and before long the coffee plant became a critical part of Costa Rica's agriculture. Because anyone who wished to grow coffee was given both land and plants by the government, coffee soon overtook cacao
and tobacco as the country's leading product. Costa Rica's terrain was ideal for growing coffee, particularly in the Central Valley, because its rich volcanic soil lent beans a strong and unique flavor. Thanks to the money that flowed into Costa Rica as a result of the coffee industry, the country was able to develop the ports, roads and infrastructure that have helped to sustain its economy even through the present.
Nowadays, coffee is still one of Costa Rica's most important agricultural products. The government has mandated that all coffee grown in the country is of the Arabica variety, which produces a bean that makes a sweeter, smoother drink when brewed. In particular, Costa Rican coffee is known for its balanced flavor profile, which features notes of citrus and berry as well as hints of roasted chocolate.
Cofee Plantation Tour
Travelers in Costa Rica can see how coffee is grown firsthand during a visit to one of the many coffee plantations situated in the country's Central Valley in areas like Naranjo
, Tarrazu, Poas Volcano
, and Tres Rios. Most coffee farms operate tours of their facilities, where guides teach visitors about the history of the drink and how farmers raise the plants from seeds. If tourists visit plantations during the harvest season, which lasts from October through May, they may be allowed to pick coffee fruits themselves.
After seeing the growing and harvesting process, visitors to a coffee plantation will get to see how beans are extracted from the husk, dried and roasted. Tours at most coffee plantations end with a free sample of the farm's signature brew. Additionally, as many plantations are diversifying, travelers may be able to try a wide variety of new organic kinds of coffee.