About Costa Rica

Coffee Roots in Costa Rica

(SOURCE Icafe)

The likely date of the arrival of coffee to America is 1720 when they brought the first seeds, Arabica Coffea species (Typical variety), to Martinique in the Antilles. From there originated the berry that was sowed in Costa Rica in the beginning of the 18th century.

Prominent Costa Ricans contributed to the development of coffee, and the first to cultivate it was the priest Felix Velarde, who, in 1816, made reference to having a plot of land cultivated with the beans. Costa Rica was the first Central American country to establish the budding coffee industry. The first two Heads of State, Juan Mora Fernandez and Braulio Carrillo, supported the development of the coffee enterprise. They saw coffee not only as a product that was capable of stimulating economic change for Costa Rica, but also projected coffee production in the following years, during which the coffee bean would become the product that gave rise to Costa Rica's economic development.

As the first plants grew, Costa Ricans' interest in its cultivation increased, and by 1821 there were 17,000 coffee trees in production. The exportation of coffee to the United States began in 1860, and initially, the weight was almost 25% of the all exported coffee.

Authorities of the Republic implemented a series of measures aimed at promoting the coffee industry, among which are notable: 1821: The Municipality of San José distributed free coffee plants among residents; 1825: The Government exempts coffee from tithe payments; 1831: The National Assembly decreed that anyone who grew coffee for five years on idle land could claim the land as their own; 1840: a decree is issued to plant coffee on the undeveloped land to the west of San José (Pavas).

Several decades passed between the introduction of coffee and its consolidation as an export product. The commercialization of coffee began in 1832, when Don Jorge Stiepel, who had close business ties with the English, first exported to Chile. It has been confirmed that Captain William Le Lacheur opened direct trade with English ports in 1843. Le Lacheur made the trip from London to Puntarenas in 1943 on the "Monarch" to transport back a shipment of 5,005 quintals of coffee, one of the most representative exports. Afterward, other freighters full of coffee set sail to England, which marked the success of the coffee trade.

Throughout the history of Costa Rica, coffee has been a fundamental pillar of the society and a driving force behind development and the national economy. For this reason it has been called the "golden bean." With the development of its cultivation and opening of export markets came an economic, social, and cultural surge, and an improvement in the country's infrastructure:

The Federal Debt was paid; the postal service, first Government printing office, San José Hospital and San Juan de Dios Hospital were founded; the Santo Tomas University was founded, and the National Theater were constructed.

Also established were the first libraries, the opening and improvement of roads and the construction of the Atlantic and Pacific railroads. Development of the Banking system (in 1863, Banco Anglo Costarricense, Banco la Unión, Banco Internacional) helped small farmers with their credit to increase their cultivation areas.

In addition, there was the Mauro Fernandez Education Reform, the first higher learning centers and libraries, the Political Constitution of 1871, profound changes in the State during the 1880s and changes in the electoral code and practices.

Communications and infrastructure: building of the San José - Puntarenas road, which revolutionized coffee trade since it allowed mules to be replaced by ox carts; construction of the Pacific and Atlantic railroads; completion of the National Palace and National Theater. The latter achievement is a symbol of an era, a way of life and of thinking, and one of the many results of the prosperity of the coffee boom.

Upon this historical, cultural, and economic foundation, the small and medium Costa Rican producer had access to a number of goods and services (education, communication, health) resulting from the commercial production of coffee.

Why drink Costa Rican Coffee?

The 100% of coffee grown in Costa Rica comes from the Arabica specie, the Caturra and Catuaí varieties, which produce a high quality bean and an aromatic, pleasant and select cup. The planting of coffee Robusta was prohibited by law because of its inferior cup quality.

Costa Rican coffee is grown in volcanic and low-acidic fertile soil, conditions ideal for production. 80% of the coffee area is located between 800 and 1,600 meters (2,625 feet-5,250 feet) above sea level and in temperatures between 17 and 28°C(62.6°F-82.4°F), with annual precipitation between 2,000 and 3,000 millimeters (79 inches-118 inches).

The manual and selective method of picking is used: only ripe berries are selected.

The Costa Rican coffee sector only uses wet processing, in which the removal of the pulp is done the same day that it is harvested. Also, the classification and cleaning, after removing the pulp, is done before the fermenting process, with the idea of eliminating the remaining pulp and removing possible defective beans.

What is harvested and roasted in Origin?

All our coffees have a guaranty of being 100% Costa Rica Arabica coffee and roasted on the facilities of Café Volio in Curridabat, Costa Rica. This seal assures our clients that behind the products of Café Volio there is the best coffee origin in the world, and that roasting process is taking place in Costa Rica.

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