Costa Rican Coffee History
Costa Rica is one of the top producers of coffee in the world. As their third most exported product, it is incredibly important to the country’s economy. Ethiopia introduced Arabica coffee to the country in the late 1770s. The Costa Rican government encouraged farming of coffee by offering plots of land to local farmers. By 1829, coffee production was a larger source of revenue than tobacco, cacao, and sugar cane. Today, the farms in Costa Rica often employ Nicaraguan immigrants as seasonal workers on plantations to harvest coffee during peak seasons.
Tarrazu Meca “Karen”
IN 1996 Deiber Mena Abarca purchased Finca Beraca and is now the owner of the “Meca” micro mill in the region of Leon Cortes de Tarrazu. Deiber decided to open their own micro mill as they noticed that most of their neighbors were achieving a better quality coffee, thus allowing them to receive higher prices. He recently decided to seperate a few areas on his farm, one being called “Karen” the name of one of his daughters. The farm employs 40 seasonal workers to pick coffee during the harvest season and 15 full time employees whom work permanently maintaining the farm and micro mill. He hopes everyone enjoys his coffee and understands it’s a lot of work to produce great coffee consistently but is up for the challenge to do so.
Honey processed coffee is unique. When they remove the skin and pulp from the cherry, the mucilage, a sugary, sticky outer layer, remains on during the drying stage. The mucilage resembles Honey. Hence, why we refer to the process as “Honey Process”. These coffees are significantly less acidic than washed or natural/sun dried coffees. They also tend to have much more character and sweetness than traditional fully washed coffees.
Farmers have begun to assign colors to each level of honey process, indicating the amount of exposure to sunlight the plants receive. Yellow/white honey process being the most and black honey process being the least amount of sunlight. Yellow/white honey coffees are usually left to dry in the sun for around a week and red honey is dried for two to three weeks, usually in the shade. Whereas Black honey is exposed to as little light as possible and must dry for at least two weeks. The longer the dry time, the more fruit-forward the end result tastes.