Costa Rica produces less than 1% of the world’s coffee, yet Starbucks went out of their collective way to set up a company-owned 600-acre coffee farm there. Maybe this is a sign of coffee arrogance, but it seems more likely that the (somewhat experienced) folks at Starbucks know a good thing when they smell it.
Although there are several clearly separate Costa Rican growing regions, for the most part these distinctions don’t make it to the front counter of coffee shops and don’t make it onto a label. There are some exceptions for the Tarrazu snob, maybe, but mostly it’s “Costa Rican Blend” or some such title on the package.
Just as “French Roast” or “Chai Latte” evoke thoughts of extremely bold or spiced addictions, Costa Rican coffee paints a particular taste picture for fans, often requiring specialized vocab. Generally, Costa Rican coffee is highly acidic and very intensely flavorful. While each region is certainly different (and even specific farm varieties stand alone), Costa Rican coffees are referred to as having a “heavy” or “thick” body, and being “creamy”.
There is, of course, more to the story.Continue reading...