The 10 Best Coffees in Costa Rica

Although coffee is a global beverage, there are a few countries that stand out as producers of the best types of coffee. Coffee is grown only in certain places on Earth, in the area known as the coffee belt. Since it is located on the equator, the main coffee-growing countries are in Latin America and Africa. One of these countries is Costa Rica, which is known both for its great coffee tradition and for the excellent quality of its beans. 

Its relationship with coffee goes back more than 200 years, when the first plants arrived in the country. Since then, they have not only grown it but also processed it and exported it to many countries. Today, Costa Rica is a benchmark for its delicious tasting, high-quality coffee. The proof is that the coffee is under a Protected Geographical Indication and a Protected Designation of Origin.

What is the coffee from Costa Rica like?  

Costa Rica is quantitatively not one of the largest coffee-producing countries, but qualitatively one of the most important. The diversity of the growing regions and the different varieties means that the taste and aroma of the coffee are very different. However, they have some common features and peculiarities. Let’s see what they are.

Tasting notes

In general, Costa Rican coffee is known for its aroma and finesse. It has a good body and pleasant acidity. Its predominant flavors are fruity, sweet, and citrus. Therefore, depending on the growing area, there are notes of apple, blueberry, apricot, or nuts and various spices. 

How is coffee grown?

As already mentioned, Costa Rica is one of the countries located in the famous coffee belt. This area with high mountains is located near the equator and is tropical. In order for the coffee tree to grow, it must be planted at a certain altitude. Ideally, this is between 1,200 and 1,800 meters (3,937 – 5,905 ft) above sea level. 

Costa Rica is a privileged country for coffee cultivation. The varied geography and mountainous areas are ideal for growing highland coffee, which is considered to be of the highest quality. According to the Costa Rican Coffee Institute (Icafe), “more than 80% of the coffee growing areas are located between 800 and 1,600 meters (2,624 – 5,249 ft) above sea level, with temperatures between 17 and 28 degrees Celsius (62.6 – 82.4 °F) and annual rainfall between 2,000 and 3,000 millimeters.” 

Coffee, therefore, not only grows at ideal altitudes, but also finds the perfect climatic conditions. In addition, the country’s fertile volcanic soils also contribute to excellent beans. Also, most of the plants are grown in the shade. 

Production Process

The coffee production process in Costa Rica is one of the best because it combines traditional techniques with innovative technology. After the coffee is planted and cultivated, comes the harvest. In Costa Rica, this is done selectively and manually. This means that only the best beans are harvested, which are at the ideal stage of maturity. 

Then comes the coffee processing phase. This consists of several stages in which the coffee is prepared for distribution. At this point, the beans are separated from the fruit, dried, and processed into the famous green beans. The goal of coffee processing is to improve not only the quality of the coffee, but also its taste and characteristics.

There is wet and dry processing. The first method involves several steps and results in a mild, high-quality coffee. For this purpose, water is used for most of the process. The dry method, on the other hand, consists of drying the whole coffee cherry for several days until it reaches the right humidity. This method is more laborious, as it is more difficult to separate the pulp from the beans in this state. In this way, coffees of a lower quality are obtained. 

In the case of Costa Rica, the wet method is used. On the day of harvest, the pulp of the beans is removed, and the beans are sorted and cleaned. Then follows the fermentation process. The goal is to use only the best coffee beans. 

After this first phase of the wet process, the beans must be dried. Costa Ricans do this in two ways: in the sun or mechanically. The first is one of the best and most widely used in the world and takes about 7 days. The second is much faster, as the coffee can be dried in just one day. 

Good cultivation practices

Costa Rica is committed to its consumers as well as to the environment. For this reason, they place great emphasis on good growing practices. Let’s see how:

  • As a rule, no insecticides are used on coffee plantations. 
  • For weed control, agrochemicals are applied plant by plant rather than from the air. Chemicals are used, but in a measured, controlled and manual way. In this way, other areas and water sources are not contaminated. 
  • The use of shade plants also has several positive effects. The decomposing leaves serve as organic material for the soil and help protect it from erosion. In addition, the resulting “forests” help protect the region’s fauna and water sources. 
  • During the processing, no more water is used than necessary and it is ensured that the water does not come into contact with the pulp, but only with the beans. It is then treated so that it can be reused and generally does not become environmentally harmful wastewater. 
  • The by-products of the process are also used. The pulp is composted and worm composting is promoted. 

Coffee Growing Areas in Costa Rica

Although Costa Rica is not a large country, it is very diverse in terms of climate and wildlife. The different altitudes and climatic conditions of each region have a direct influence on the beans. Therefore, each area produces coffees with particular characteristics and properties. The result is a variety of coffees with different acidity, body, and aroma, but always of high quality.  

In total, there are 8 coffee growing areas in Costa Rica: Valle Central, Tres Ríos, Turrialba, Brunca, Guanacaste, Tarrazú, Orosi and Valle Occidental. Below you will learn more about each of them.  

Valle Central

LocationCentral area of the country. The area consists of the provinces of Heredia, San José and Alajuela.
Altitude800 to 1,600 meters above sea level.  Coffee is grown between 1,000 and 1,400 meters above sea level.
Temperature20°C on average
Harvest seasonNovember to March

The Central Valley is one of the most important regions of Costa Rica. Not only in terms of coffee production but also in general. It is home to the Greater Metropolitan Area, the most developed area in the country, which is also home to the capital city of San José. The first coffee plantations were established in this region at the end of the 18th century, and from there they spread throughout the country. 

Geographically and climatically, it is a very privileged region. It has three volcanoes: Irazú, Poás, and Barva. These give the soils special characteristics and many nutrients. The average temperature is constant and the rainy and dry seasons are clearly defined. This helps to ensure that coffee crops are not affected by drastic climatic changes. 

The quality of the beans produced in this region varies but is generally high. The coffee has a very good body and aroma, as well as high and fine acidity. The drink is also aromatic and delicate and can have chocolaty notes. 

Tres Rios

LocationPacific slope, about 12 km from the capital San José. 
Altitude1,200 to 1,650 m above sea level.
Temperature21°C on average
Harvest seasonAugust to February

This region is located near the Irazú volcano, which directly affects the soil and the quality of the plants. Coffee of such excellent quality and even gourmet quality is produced there, it is called the “Bordeaux” of Costa Rica. Although it is the smallest coffee-growing area in the country, the volcanic soils and high mountains produce some of the most famous and sought-after coffees in the world. 

Stable climatic conditions and periods prevail. The soils are rich in nutrients, organic matter and have a good texture. This allows the coffee trees to grow and develop better and without problems. So much so that their beans belong to the SHB (Strictly Hard Bean) type. This means that they have a closed fissure and are physically very hard. These are high-altitude coffees that have the best flavor characteristics and are generally more expensive. Thus, the bean has a great body and aroma, as well as high and fine acidity.


LocationAtlantic slope, in the province of Cartago, bordering the Central Valley and Orosi.
Altitude600 and 1,300 meters above sea level. 
Temperature21.5 °C on average
Harvest seasonIt is early, from June to February.

In Turrialba, coffee is grown under the shade of trees. Generally, these are tree species such as laurel, but also legumes. The coffee trees are tall and produce large beans. The region has good climatic conditions and is only a few kilometers from the Turrialba volcano. Thus, the soils are nutrient-rich, volcanic, and also partly alluvial due to the greater influence of rainfall. 

The cup of coffee from the beans harvested in this region has a normal acidity, little body, and good aroma. 


LocationIt is located in the south of the country and is divided into two areas:
Coto Brus: located in the foothills of the Cordillera Talamanca and near the border with Panama. 
Pérez Zeledón: located in the northwest of the Talamanca mountain range and near Chirripó, the highest peak in the country. 
AltitudeCoto Brus: 800 to 1,200 m above sea level.
Pérez Zeledón: up to 1,700 m above sea level.
TemperatureCoto Brus: between 18 and 26°C. 
Pérez Zeledón: up to 34°C. 
Harvest seasonCoto Brus: early, from September to February. 
Pérez Zeledón: usually harvested between September and February, but more fruit is harvested in August and until January.

This is one of the most special regions, as it is divided into two parts. Both are located in mountain ranges, therefore their topography is not regular, they have a great diversity of ecosystems and different microclimates. 

In Coto Brus, coffee is grown at lower altitudes and in very different climatic and topographic conditions. For this reason, the beans produced are of the MHB (Medium Hard Bean) type. The hardness of the bean is good on one side and medium on the other. The coffee has a normal body, aroma, and acidity, so it is good, but not of the highest quality. 

Since the coffee in Pérez Zeledón is grown at higher altitudes, better beans are produced there. The beans are of high quality and coarse. The beans feature excellent body, acidity, and aroma. 


LocationMountainous areas of the Cordillera Volcanica Central and the Cordillera de Guanacaste. The area is located in several regions of the provinces of Guanacaste, Alajuela and Puntarenas.
Altitude600 and 1,350 meters above sea level.
TemperatureLess than 30°C. 
Harvest seasonDepending on the region, the harvest can take place between July and December or between October and February. 

Like Brunca, Guanacaste is an area divided into several sub-regions. In general, the areas have a certain climate and their dry and rainy seasons are similar. However, in some areas, the rainy season can last longer. This region is more influenced by the Pacific Ocean, and the beans are smaller, harder, and have a delicious aroma. 

Coffee is grown on Andosol soils, which are dark and have volcanic origins. These soils are characterized by a high content of organic matter and a good structure, being very fertile. They are therefore ideal for the good development of the coffee plant. 

The result is a cup of coffee that has a good balance between body, aroma, and acidity, is very soft and has an excellent taste. 


LocationTalamanca mountain range.
Altitude1,200 and 1,900 meters above sea level.
Temperature19°C on average
Harvest seasonNovember to March.

This area, also known as Los Santos, is one of the most important for coffee production. The economic activity of the region depends largely on this plant. The climate and the well-defined wet and dry seasons contribute to the good development of the coffee tree. More than 90% of the beans grown in this region are of the SHB (Strictly Hard Bean) type. This classification indicates that the coffee is grown at an altitude of more than 1,350 meters above sea level and has excellent cup characteristics. 

The coffee produced stands out for its high and fine acidity, good body, intense flavor, and excellent aroma. It can have notes of chocolate, almond, and citrus flavors. Also, the beans grown in the Tarrazú region are internationally recognized as the finest gourmet quality beans.

Finally, the coffee produced has a Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.). This means that the quality and characteristics of this coffee are unique to and originate from this geographical region.


LocationCentral Plateau Valley. The area is divided into 3 subregions: Orosi, Paraíso and Cachí. 
Altitude1,000 to 1,400 meters above sea level.
Temperature20°C on average
Harvest seasonParaíso and Orosi: August and February.
Cachí: October to February. 

This region has great biodiversity and consists of national parks and protected forests. Ideal climatic conditions prevail here and there are hardly any changes due to human activities. It is influenced by both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Coffee is grown on the slopes of moderately high mountains, which have fertile soils of volcanic origin. 

The result is a cup of coffee with balanced and fruity notes. It has a good aroma, body, and light to medium acidity. 

Valle Occidental

LocationThe area comprises the following sub-regions: Palmares, Naranjo, San Ramón, Grecia, Valverde Vega and Atenas. The coffee is grown on the slopes of the Central Mountain range. 
Altitude700 to 1,700 meters above sea level.
Temperature21.5°C on average. 
Harvest seasonNovember to February. 

It is a vast area that offers optimal conditions for coffee cultivation. Depending on the sub-region, there is a great variety of altitudes, but in general, the temperatures and the rainy and dry seasons are stable. Coffee is grown on volcanic soils that are very fertile. 

The cup of coffee from West Valley has very good organoleptic characteristics. It has a great and balanced body, aroma, and acidity. Also, the coffee may present fruity notes such as peach and apricot. 

Coffee varieties grown in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country where only the Arabica variety is grown for commercial purposes. In fact, the cultivation of the Robusta variety has been prohibited since 1998 by Decree No. 27059-MAG. This was done to ensure the quality of the coffee produced.

As a reminder, of the four recognized coffee varieties, Arabica is not only the best but also the most commercially important. Robusta is the next best variety, but does not come close to Arabica in quality. To avoid mixing the varieties, Costa Rica decided to stop growing Robusta. The only exception is for research purposes.

Within the Arabica variety, there are other “sub-varieties” or types. The varieties most commonly grown in Costa Rica are Catuaí and Caturra, but also Venecia, Híbrido F1, Typica, Mundo Novo, and others. These are characterized by excellent quality as well as high productivity. 

What makes Costa Rican coffee so special?

In Costa Rica, coffee is known as the golden bean. It is a country with great biodiversity, favored by its topography and climatic conditions. 

In general, we can say that the coffee produced in Costa Rica is one of the best. They produce balanced gourmet cups of excellent quality. There are several reasons for this, which we will take a closer look at.

Certifications and best practices

There are several aspects that make up a good coffee. But often what is not visible to the naked eye is more important than we think. Costa Rica is fully aware of this. That is why it is one of the countries most committed to high-quality processes. Besides having good sustainable farming practices, they also have various certifications. 

All coffee produced in Costa Rica has a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). As with the Tarrazu P.D.O., the P.G.I. generally confirms that the characteristics of Costa Rican coffee are only because it was grown and processed there. 

On the other hand, it is fundamental for the country that the product that is marketed and reaches consumers is the best. Thus, the Sustainable Coffee Seal was born. This means that coffee producers must use cultivation practices that do not endanger the environment and improve the quality of the beans. 

Privileged geography

Costa Rica has different topography in each coffee growing zone. However, they all have ideal climates and altitudes. Although some of the producers grow coffee at medium altitudes, there are also some that grow coffee above 1,300 meters (4,265 ft) above sea level, which is the best condition for the highest quality beans. 

On the other hand, the soils where coffee is grown are ideal due to the mountain ranges and the proximity to several volcanoes. These allow not only simply the growth of the plant, but also its growth and development in a nutrient-rich and fertile soil. 

Thanks to these conditions, coffee trees of medium size are harvested, usually producing large beans with good hardness. The result is a balanced coffee cup with the best aromatic notes and excellent acidity and body. 


After the coffee is grown and harvested, the important processing stage follows. The quality of the beans depends to a great extent on this process to ensure that they are in perfect condition and have the ideal quality for commercialization both on a national and an international level. 

Processing plants have a well-trained workforce and semi and fully automated processes. For each stage, many plants in Costa Rica have upgraded their processes and machinery. In this way, they optimize time, quality, quantity, etc. 

As part of their commitment to the environment, many mills have begun to use solar energy, control and conserve water, reduce waste, and use coffee byproducts.

The 10 best coffees in Costa Rica

Now that you’ve learned all about Costa Rican coffee and why it’s one of the best, you might want to try it. That’s why we’ve compiled for you the 10 best Costa Rican coffees you can find on the market.

Café Britt’s Café Costa Rica Tres Ríos Valdivia Coffee

Coffee bean variety: Arabica.

Tasting notes: Fruity flavors of plum, orange citrus, and hints of walnut and honey. 

Roasting degree: Medium. On a scale of 1 to 10, the roast level is 6. 

Type of coffee: Ground.

This wonderful coffee from the traditional brand Café Britt was grown in the volcanic soils of the fertile region of Tres Rios. It is a top quality ground coffee that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. It has a balanced taste and aroma, as well as delicious flavors. 

It is supplied in 3 packages of 340 g each. Packed in a 3-layer foil bag to guarantee the freshness of the coffee.  

Café Britt Costa Rica Tarrazú Montecielo Coffee 

Coffee bean variety: Arabica.

Tasting notes: Chocolate and grapefruit.

Roasting degree: Medium. On a scale of 1 to 10, the roast level is 7.

Type of coffee: Ground.

The coffee grown in the Tarrazú region is known worldwide for its quality. It is grown on the slopes of high mountains, in perfect temperatures and volcanic soils. The result is a ground coffee of excellent quality, with a clean cup, good acidity and body. 

It is supplied in 3 packs of 340 g each. Packed in a 3-layer aluminum bag, the freshness of the coffee is guaranteed.

Volcanica Coffee Peaberry Costa Rica Coffee

Coffee bean variety: Arabica.

Tasting notes: Fruity and citrus.

Roasting degree: Medium.

Type of coffee: Whole bean.

This coffee, grown in Costa Rica, is very special because only a small percentage of the beans are the Peaberry style. It is internationally known and sought after for its balanced but intense flavor and aroma. It is harvested in the Tres Rios area and is characteristically sweet, bright, and smooth. 

The package weighs 453 grams. It is roasted and immediately packaged to ensure the freshness of the beans.

Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC Costa Rica Tarrazú Coffee

Coffee bean variety: Arabica.

Tasting notes: Chocolate, honey, and bright flavor.

Roasting degree: Medium.

Type of coffee: Whole bean.

It comes from the famous Tarrazú region, known for the best beans. It is grown at altitudes between 1,300 and 1,600 meters and is a medium roasted, mild coffee with a strong flavor and good acidity. It is perfect for those who prefer a fine cup of coffee, not so strong, but still very aromatic.  

It comes in a large presentation, as it weighs 2,268 g. The coffee was roasted immediately before packaging and transport. 

Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC Organic Coffee from Costa Rica, Cumbres del Poas

Coffee bean variety: Arabica.

Tasting notes: Sour cherry, peach blossom, and orange peel.

Roasting degree: Medium.

Type of coffee: Whole bean.

It is an organic coffee with USDA organic certification, grown in the Central Valley coffee region, one of the most important in Costa Rica. This is a seal awarded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) that means that the product is 95% to 100% organic. It also means that it has been grown according to the organic standards established by this body. 

Therefore, in addition to being a very natural coffee, it offers a bright cup with hints of citrus and fruit and a smooth body. The package is 2,268 grams and the coffee has been roasted before packaging and shipping to preserve its freshness.

Good As Gold Coffee Costa Rica Tarrazú Coffee

Coffee bean variety: Arabica.

Tasting notes: Honey, chocolate, and a hint of sweetness.

Roasting degree: Medium.

Type of coffee: Whole bean.

As we have already seen, the coffee harvested in Tarrazú is one of the most famous in Costa Rica. It is not for nothing that this region, with its privileged climate and topography, produces the best beans. This coffee produces an elegant, clean, bright, and very balanced cup. It is perfect to enjoy at any time of day, even with several people if you wish. 

The beans have been roasted before packaging to ensure their freshness and are available in a 340 g pack.

Café 1820 Costa Rican Classic Coffee

Coffee bean variety: Arabica.

Roasting degree: Dark.

Type of coffee: Ground.

Café 1820 is one of the most traditional and well-known coffee brands in Costa Rica. This classic ground coffee is special and unusual because, unlike many others, it has a dark roast. So it is perfect for those who love a cup with full body, aroma, and bitterness, but with little acidity.

It is available in a 500 g presentation, ideal for long-term enjoyment with several people. 

Café 1820 Costa Rica Gourmet Coffee

Coffee bean variety: Arabica.

Roasting degree: Dark.

Type of coffee: Bean.

This coffee bean is another perfect choice for lovers of strong-tasting bitter coffee. The difference is that you can enjoy it even fresher because you can grind the beans just before brewing. This way you get a fresh cup with mild acidity, but with plenty of body, aroma, and color. 

It comes in 2 packs of 340 g each.  

Café Fortaleza Grandes Orígenes de Costa Rica Coffee

Coffee bean variety: Arabica.

Tasting notes: Sweet and fruity. 

Roasting degree: Natural. On a scale of 1 to 13, the intensity is 5.

Type of coffee: Ground.

This coffee is grown in the Central Valley region and is of very good quality. It is perfect if you prefer a softer and more delicate cup. It has fruity notes, a sweeter taste, and is full-bodied. You will definitely enjoy its delicious yet smooth flavors. 

It is supplied in a 250g package.

Fudi&Co  Despierto y Soñando Costa Rica Coffee Capsules

Coffee bean variety: Arabica.

Tasting notes: Floral, chocolaty with hints of nuts and peanuts.

Roasting degree: Natural. 

Type of coffee: Nespresso compatible capsules. 

A coffee as wonderful as the one grown in Costa Rica should be enjoyed in all its forms. It is perfect to use at any time of day, easily and quickly in your Nespresso machine.

In just a few minutes you will have a tasty cup with a hint of chocolate. In addition, these are 100% compostable. 

A country does not have to be too large in size to have quality products. Costa Rica, even though it is a small country, is the cradle of the Golden Bean. The coffee it produces is one of the most sought after and recognized worldwide. Its delicious flavor, aroma, notes and excellent body are on the wish list of many, and now we hope it is on yours!

And if one country’s coffee is not enough for you, we have more recommendations: