Of the many Costa Rica coffee growing regions, Tres Rios is by far the smallest. Yet the coffee beans produced here have exceptional quality and taste. With fresh, sweet and bright profiles with fruity notes from apricot to lime, the highly sought-after Costa Rican coffees of Tres Rios are arguably the best in Central America.
Top Recommended Costa Rica Coffee
- Country of Origin – Costa Rica
- Regions – Cartaga Province, Tres Rios, Costa Rica
- Best Known Growers – La Isabella Estate
- Altitude – 1,200 to 1,650 meters
- Harvest – October to March
- Milling Process – washed, naturally fermented, sun-dried
- Aroma – intense, bright and fresh
- Flavor – sweet, bright and clean with hints of citrusy lime
- Body – medium body, mild
- Acidity – lively and bright but not overpowering, medium-high
- Certification – Fair Trade, Organic, International Women’s Coffee Alliance and Rainforest Alliance certifications available.
About the Bean
Costa Rica coffee beans are of the Arabica variety and are grown all over the country. The largest and most well-known coffee growing regions are Tarrazu and Monte Crisol, but there are many smaller regions dotted around this highly fertile, mountainous country. Our recommended Costa Rican coffee is from a particular estate in the Tres Rios coffee growing region.
Arabica plants were first introduced by the Spanish in the late 18th century, and although coffee is not a native plant of Costa Rica, it fast became there largest and only export for several decades. Coffee remains an integral part of Costa Rica’s economy.
Coffee was first introduced to Tres Rios in the 1820s, following its success in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. What really makes the coffee from this region stand out is its bright and sweet flavor with a citrus edge. If you’re a fan of the citrus notes in Tanzania peaberry beans, you should try Costa Rican peaberry coffee for its lime-like citrus flavors.
Medium roasts are best for this coffee bean to maintain that bright acidity without knocking out the sweet and fruity notes. Many Costa Rican coffee growers send their green beans straight off the USA for the milling process or send them to native processing plants before they’re shipped and roasted in the USA.
About the Region
Our recommended Coffee Dorks Costa Rican brew is the peaberry bean from the La Isabella Estate in Tres Rios, Costa Rica. The Tres Rios region is very close to San José, it’s a central location in the country offering very fertile, slightly acidic volcanic soils at high elevations.
The proximity to the Pacific coast also brings a fresh sea-breeze in-land towards the estates in Tres Rios, adding humidity to the climate and a fresh taste to the resulting coffee.
La Isabella Estate, in particular, grows their beans in partially shaded areas. Although this estate only covers approximately 9 hectares, it produces some of the most highly regarded coffee in the region. The beans grown here are Caturra/Catuai variety of Arabica and around 5% of their harvest is hand-picked peaberry beans that are naturally fermented, washed and dried on the estate. The peaberry beans tend to have a more intense, complex flavor.
The well-known coffee estates like La Isabella provide a steady income and fame for their owners, however many smaller farms in the Tres Rios area are disappearing entirely. As the capital San José expands, more and more estates are sold for real estate development or farmland to feed the expanding population.
Coffee growing in this region will soon be reduced to few and far between estates that provide only the best coffee beans and manage to attract the increasing stream of tourists that visit the coffee growing regions of Costa Rica.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.