Created: March 2014
The history of Cost Rica would have been so different if any other coffee berry were selected for planting in 1779. The law prevented other coffee varieties from being cultivated in the country. Was it just a wild guess that the Arabica would eventually become the world’s bean of choice? How did they know then that the acidity of the volcanic soil of the country was ideal for this crop? Not all of those answers are available, but we know why the Arabica is so important today and we understand the danger that looms. There are hopeful prospects for the industry’s recovery on the horizon.
Today, coffee is the number one hot beverage in the world; it is also one of the most expensive and most heavily traded commodities in the world. Costa Rica’s introduction to coffee was a conscious decision made by then governors to import and plant the highly prized Arabica berry. Coffee was not an indigenous crop to Costa Rica, yet it has led the way for exports from the country; it employed most of her labor, and opened avenues for other successful crops.
Costa Rica’s involvement with coffee spans a 235-year period, moving from its introduction, and cultivation, through to becoming the major export crop. Over 90% of Costa Rica’s coffee is Arabica Coffee and only Arabica is exported. Arabica is recognized as the richest and finest tasting bean in the industry.
The most famous area of Costa Rica, where coffee is grown is the Mesta Central plateau in the center of the country because it proved ideal for coffee cultivation. Most of the arable land there is located at the right altitude for coffee cultivation; also the best soil and climatic conditions exists for its propagation. The ideal elevation for growing coffee is between 2,400 feet and 5,500 feet.
Most good coffee brands sold in the world contain Arabica grounds and perhaps some Costa Rican input. Only the best coffee is served at Blue River Resort & Hot Springs. Other ‘blends’ exist in other countries. Blending is the process where a mixture of rich Arabica coffee is added to an inferior bean to produce an acceptable taste at a lower cost. Thus, blending uses some amount of a high grade coffee, to combine with a lower grade to produce a palatable flavor and aroma at a lower price.