History of Costa Rican Coffee
Coffee came to Costa Rica as early as 1779 and within 50 years was generating more revenue than any other crop, but by the 1830’s they were growing more coffee than the ships heading south could take. And virtually no infrastructure existed for transporting even a small amount of green coffee to the east coast of Costa Rica (where London was a mere 5,000 miles away). The distribution woes of Costa Rican coffee producers reached the ears of an up-and-coming shipping magnate named William Le Lacheur in 1841 and on Christmas day, 1841 he sailed The Monarch into port at Puntarenas, Costa Rica, and thus began a long and mutually beneficial relationship. On one voyage to London in late in 1843, the Monarch carried more than half a million pounds of Costa Rican coffee.
Growing Coffee in Costa Rica
Coffee grows in eight coffee regions throughout Costa Rica. In the central and northern highlands where most specialty coffee is found, coffee grows from 1200-1700 meters. Ninety percent of Costa Rican coffee is grown by 50,000 farmers on less than 5 hectares. Although nearly all Costa Rican coffee is wet milled, the country produces a wide variety of honey processed coffee. Coffee is dried using both patios and mechanical dryers. Costa Rica grows Typica, Caturra, Catuai, Villa Sarchi, Bourbon and Geisha.