Last Updated on January 10, 2022 by John Moretti
A combination of high-quality varietals, high altitudes, reliable high rainfall, and fertile volcanic souls results in Costa Rica producing excellent quality coffee beans with complex flavor and bright acidity. But which Costa Rican coffee beans are the best?
With so many great coffees to choose from, selecting the perfect coffee for your palate and your pocket can get complicated. So let’s look at what makes each of these a great coffee so that you can make an informed decision.
1. Volcanica Coffee Costa Rica Peaberry
Coffee cherries usually have two beans, whereas peaberries only have one, leading to a sweeter, brighter, and more flavorful cup. They are also typically higher in caffeine.
Volcanica has sourced these peaberries from the renowned La Isabela Estate in the Tres Rios region of Costa Rica, a region known as the “Bordeaux of Costa Rica” for the quality of its coffee.
They are grown at an altitude of 5200 feet, which contributes to their superb flavor. They are shade-grown and Rainforest Alliance Certified, which tells you that these beans have been grown in a way that’s good for the environment.
These beans have a berry-like, citrus flavor that is intense and bright while still being balanced and sweet.
Volcanica doesn’t roast your beans until after you order and ships them fast, guaranteeing you a fresh-tasting coffee.
2. Fresh Roasted Coffee Costa Rica Tarrazu
The mountainous Tarrazu region is the most popular of the eight coffee-growing regions in Costa Rica, producing coffees with full body and chocolate notes.
This coffee displays bright acidity and honey notes, in addition to the characteristic chocolate flavor. It is a single-origin medium roast with a medium body and less powerful citrus notes than other Costa Rican coffees.
This Tarrazu is a versatile coffee that lends itself to different brewing methods.
Fresh Roasted sells only freshly roasted coffee. To ensure freshness, they do not roast the coffee until after you order. You should receive it within four to seven days of roasting.
They use only environmentally friendly Loring roasters, which reduce emissions by 80% while maintaining precise roasting.
They have Compact by Design certification, which makes them Climate Pledge Friendly. This certification means that they have designed their packaging to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping.
They guarantee housing, transport, medical services, and insurance to all coffee pickers during harvest.
This coffee is an absolute bargain for a Tarrazu, plus you get the satisfaction of knowing you’ve been responsible to the workers involved and the environment.
3. Allegro Coffee Costa Rica El Volcan
The founders of Allegro started the company in 1977 to be a sustainable and ethical coffee company. They introduced organic coffee beans in 1986 and later expanded to Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, and Bird Friendly certified coffees.
Allegro is also engaged with sustainability programs such as Trees Water People and Planet Bluegrass.
Since 2016, Allegro has sourced coffee from a group of twelve farmers in San Cristobal at an elevation of 5,500 feet above sea level and designated them El Volcan for the active and dormant volcanoes of the region.
The growers wash process the beans, and Allegro gives them a light roast to retain their characteristic flavors.
The result is a smooth, easy-drinking brew with the sweetness of honey and panela and engaging citrus acidity with mandarin notes.
4. Cooper’s Cask Decaf Costa Rican SWP
Cooper’s Cask has developed an excellent decaffeinated coffee for those looking to reduce their caffeine intake. They use the Swiss Water Process, which yields a truly decaf coffee, instead of all other processes, which leave about 3% of the caffeine in the bean.
Additionally, the Swiss Water Process leaves no toxic by-products, nor does it remove any of the flavors of the beans, making it the process of choice for premium quality decaf.
Cooper’s Cask sources this single-origin coffee from micro-lots. Then, they medium roast this coffee in small batches to bring out the full bouquet of aromas and a smooth, full-bodied flavor with honey wheat, semi-sweet chocolate, and molasses biscuit notes.
The profile each lot of beans for quality, and all of their beans are Organic, Fair Trade, and Farm Gate certified.
5. Volcanica Geisha Coffee Costa Rica
Geisha coffee beans are famous for being one of the best globally, known for their complex taste and rarity. They originate in the Gora Gesha forest of Ethiopia, but farmers have cultivated them in Costa Rica since the 1950s.
The quality of the Geisha beans and the superb growing conditions in Costa Rica result in a high-quality brew with high complex flavors. Volcanica enhances this coffee with a medium roast that brings out a gentle, citrusy acidity.
It has a natural tea-like body and fruity and floral flavors of citrus, peach, jasmine, lavender, mango, and a lingering cocoa finish. To best savor, the nuanced flavors of this superb coffee, enjoy it black.
Volcanica’s Costa Rican Geisha coffee beans are a genuinely excellent and unusual experience for the coffee connoisseur and live up to the reputation of this famous varietal.
6. Café Britt Costa Rican Montecielo Tarrazu
Café Britt was founded in 1985 to be the first gourmet coffee roaster to cater to the country’s local market. Unlike many other Latin American countries that export all their best stuff and drink relatively inferior coffee, Costa Ricans take their brew seriously.
This coffee is a single origin from the most famous Costa Rican region, Tarrazu, one of the best coffee-growing regions in the world. This region is known for its chocolate flavors and full body, and this coffee is no exception.
The coffee is high-mountain grown, and in fact, is certified Strictly Hard Bean, which means that it is grown only at elevations above 4,500 feet above sea level.
An expert medium roast by Café Britt’s well-known roaster, Don Miguel, draws out this superb coffee’s chocolate flavor and grapefruit notes. Every coffee from this company is picked, roasted, and packed in Costa Rica.
Their premium whole bean coffee is packaged in a triple-layer bag, ensuring its freshness. Café Britt sells their coffees in a triple pack, so this coffee should keep you busy for a while.
Café Britt first obtained carbon neutral certification in 2013 and continues to work on reducing its emissions.
7. Grand Parade Coffee Costa Rica Tarrazu La Minita Green Coffee
Grand Parade offers this premium quality green coffee, perfect for those of you who wish to try some roasting at home. Expect a similar flavor to Panamanian and Guatemalan green coffee beans.
This coffee has the characteristic Tarrazu chocolate notes and fruity flavors of cherry, grape, sweet orange, and caramel. It is obviously up to you to experiment, but Grand Parade recommends a medium roast.
This coffee is Rainforest Alliance Certified and shade-grown and comes from the renowned Hacienda La Minita in Tarrazu. As with other Tarrazu coffees, it is high-altitude coffee of the Bourbon, Caturra, and Catuai varietals.
This coffee is packaged fresh in a twin-layer foil bag with an air valve and comes in a 3lbs size, giving you plenty of beans with which to experiment.
8. Cooper’s Cask Wine Barrel-Aged
Another offering from Cooper’s Cask, this single-origin coffee is honey processed for sweet honey notes and deep complexity. Costa Rica is the world leader in experimenting with honey processing, a method where some of the flesh is left on the beans while they are fermented.
An unusual extra step introduced into the processing of these beans is to age them in Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels, introducing some of the flavors of the wine into the beans.
Cooper’s Cask then medium roast the beans to reveal dark honey, fruit, chocolate hazelnut notes, and an oak finish from the wine barrels. They are low in acidity.
The flavors are unusual and may not appeal to everyone, but if you are a fan of chocolate and wine, these beans may be just right for you.
9. Volcanica Costa Rica Tarrazu
Another great coffee from Volcanica, this Tarrazu is grown at a high altitude, which means that the cherries ripen more slowly. Slower ripening results in a rich, well-balanced flavor with bright acidity. It is shade-grown in volcanic soil, meaning that it is good for the environment and good coffee, too.
The characteristic chocolate notes of a good Tarrazu are present in this premium coffee, and the medium roast that Volcanica uses allows the flavor to shine through.
Volcanica Coffee is Fair Trade certified and Rainforest Alliance certified.
As always, Volcanica fresh roasts the beans and then immediately packs and seals them so that you get the best freshness.
10. Starbucks Costa Rica Latin American Blend
Starbucks is a leading company in the coffee business, and you have almost certainly experienced their coffee. They also provide whole bean coffee from some of the world’s best growing locations, which they have blended and roasted to bring out the characteristic flavors of those regions.
Their 100% Arabica Costa Rican blend is a medium roast coffee that delivers citrusy sweetness and the smooth chocolate notes typical of the country, along with layered vanilla, sweet maple, and toasted nut flavors.
If smooth, chocolatey medium roasts with citrusy sweetness are your thing, then this coffee should appeal to you.
11. Kirkland Whole Bean Coffee Costa Rican Blend
Kirkland coffee is a good budget option, offering a smooth, rich flavored blend with a consistent dark roast at an affordable price. They are a great value option.
Unfortunately, these beans are not always the freshest. When they are fresh, they are excellent. However, you may get a batch that has sat on the shelves a bit, so consider that factor.
12. Good As Gold Coffee Costa Rica Tarrazu
Good As Gold offers a good option for those who are regularly catering coffee for a crowd, with a 5lb bag of whole bean Tarrazu coffee.
This coffee has a medium body and a heavy mouthfeel and has the classic chocolate flavor of Tarrazu, with sweetness and nutty notes and a juicy, brightly acidic finish. Overall, a well-balanced coffee.
Good As Gold coffee roasts this coffee medium-dark, bringing out the bitter side of the coffee and rendering it more suitable for espresso. The coffee is roasted within two to three weeks of shipping and packed in a one-way valve bag.
13. Café Britt® – Costa Rican Origins Coffee Bundle
This bundle is another three-pack offering from Costa Rica’s first and leading gourmet coffee roaster catering to the local market.
This bundle highlights single-origin beans from three of the best coffee-producing regions in Costa Rica, namely Tarrazu, Tres Rios, and Poas, each carefully roasted by Café Britt’s expert roaster to highlight the distinct taste of each region.
They have roasted the Tarrazu medium-dark to draw out the distinctive chocolate flavors of the region. This darker roast also gives the coffee a heavier body and smoky aromas. It is well suited to adding milk.
They have medium roasted the Tres Rios coffee to complement the balanced acidity and the allspice, orange, and plum flavors. The aroma is sweet and nutty. Altogether, this coffee lives up to the “Bordeaux of Costa Rica” nickname that the region enjoys.
They have roasted the Poas coffee medium-dark to draw out the earthy flavors with floral and citrusy notes. The result is a smooth, balanced cup of coffee.
If you would like to make a comparison of the different tastes of Costa Rica’s coffee-growing regions, this three-pack could be an ideal place to start.