Costa Rica SHB Washed Tarrazu
Updated: Jul 11, 2019
A quality Costa Rican coffee
Costa Rica Coffee History
When you hear Costa Rican coffee, you will probably have an idea or thought about good quality and strong flavor. Both thoughts are correct, Costa Ricans take their coffee very seriously and are proud of what we call our golden beans.
The very first coffee beans were brought to Martinica in 1720 and then to Costa Rica at the end of the XVIII century. Coffee became one of their largest exports and an important part of the Costa Rican economy due to the ideal climate in the mountains. Costa Rica was the first country in the area to develop the coffee industry. Since then, the government has been motivating farmers to grow coffee. Although Costa Rica produces around 1% of the world’s coffee production, the coffee quality is exceptionally high. Today, big companies have their own coffee plantation in Costa Rica because of its growing conditions. Costa Rica’s coffee has won plenty of international contest and certifications and is said to be one of the finest coffees in the world.
Costa Rican Coffee Facts
Back in 1989, it was prohibited by law to cultivate the Robusta coffee due the poor quality. After this, the coffee farmers decided to stop producing another kind of coffee called Catimores.
All these efforts were made in order to produce only Arabica Coffee, which is the highest quality. More than 80% of Costa Rica’s coffee plantations are located between 800 meters and 1600 meters altitude, planted with fertile volcanic grounds and temperatures from 17 to 28 degrees Celsius.
This is the perfect environment to produce an excellent product. Coffee plants do not like extremely hot weather and thrive in a higher altitude.
Coffee came to Costa Rica in the last decade of the eighteenth century. Over the many years, coffee expanded over the highlands of the Central Valley. The development and trading of coffee deeply influenced the cultural and socioeconomic landscape of the country. Myriad coffee plant varieties, rich soils, high altitudes, and unique growing regions contribute to a popular and sought-after coffee cup profile. The interplay of these factors has allowed the country to achieve the reputation of producing some of the best coffee in Central America.
This type is the standard quality for SHB Costa Rican coffees. It can be grown in various regions within the country at an attitude of above 1350 meters. This is the ideal height for gourmet coffee. SHB coffees has unique qualities like citrus acidity and its complex combination of fruit and smooth chocolate notes. This coffee type represents the classic, clean, Central American cup.
SHB (Strictly Hard Bean) specifies that the coffee was grown at an altitude above 1350 meters. This term is also synonymous with SHG/Strictly High Grown; this classification is higher than HB.
The Costa Rica SHB Tarrazu coffees are rated some of the finest in the world. These beans are grown at high altitudes above 3,900 MASL allowing them to be designated Single Hard Bean which is the highest classification in the Costa Rican system. The coffee grows in mostly volcanic soil that gives the beans a high acidity. Coopetarrazu is the largest employer in the region and is constantly training its associates in the latest techniques to improve quality and production. Every year, thousands of dollars are donated to worthy programs in the region like recycling and education programs that has been introduced in the community by the cooperative's staff. Though not as renowned as other coffee such a Kona or Jamaica, the quality of Tarrazu is quickly being recognized by coffee connoisseurs. Tarrazu coffee grows through word of mouth and rather than by marketing, making its stage on the world market slow but steady. Tarrazu coffee region of Costa Rica won’t be kept a secret for much longer. Costa Rican coffee beans are graded by the hardness of the bean and is determined by the altitude at which they are grown.
Tarrazu coffees are grown in altitudes over 3,900 feet, allowing them to be designated SHB-single hard bean, the highest classification in the Costa Rican system. Grown in rich volcanic soil and high altitude make this one the finest coffees in the world. Tarrazu coffees are famed for snappy, strikingly clean flavor. Known as a “classically complete” coffee, they’re crisp and medium-bodied, with tangy citrus flavor and a fine, satisfying aroma. Tarrazu cups wonderfully at all but the lightest and darkest roasts.
This cup holds very true to the classic Costa profile. The aroma is floral and sweet like honey with a bit of a soft fruit tone upfront balanced with a very nice and chocolaty undertone. A nice medium bodied, smooth & creamy cup of coffee with little stronger floral aspect and medium to low acidity. Light roasts are clean cup, juicy, crisp, floral, sweet and bright with a slight nutty tone that turns much more chocolaty into the medium or dark roasts. Medium to dark gets nicely balanced. The cup finishes with a pleasantly surprising spiciness. This is a savory cup of coffee with wonderful complexities.