Soils enriched by volcanic ash making them slightly acidic, rich in organic matter provide the ideal growing conditions for Costa Rican Coffee. Coffee plants thrive in the climate and soil of Costa Rica, the root systems can easily spread and the humidity is retained facilitating oxygenation.
Seventy percent of the country’s coffee is produced in the mountains at altitudes from 3,000 to 5,500 feet above sea level in temperatures ranging from 63 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Sunlight is reliable and precipitation conditions are perfect. These conditions make for a high-quality and reliable coffee crop. Costa Rica is the only country banning the production of any coffee other than Arabica.
It is said that coffee was brought to Costa Rica during the 1800’s and that father Felix Velarde was the first Costa Rican coffee grower recorded in 1816. He bequeathed the seeds to his neighbors and in 1820 100 pounds of coffee were exported to Panama, the first recorded export.
With export flourishing influences of Europe became commonplace in Costa Rica, life revolved around harvesting and trade with the Europeans who brought railroads, printing presses, postal service, the first university, and the National Theater. Designed after the Paris Opera House it is one of the regions greatest architectural treasures located in the capital of San Jose. It was financed from coffee taxes.
Through the 19th century coffee export grew and this crop became an important part of life to the people of Costa Rica. Per capita consumption of coffee is the highest of all coffee-producing countries in the world.