Costa Rica has set the standard for Central American coffees. Grown at high altitudes that receive much cooler overnight temperatures and in highly volcanic soil, Costa Rican coffees are known worldwide for producing an exquisite cup.
Tarrazu is the premier region of Costa Rica for coffee. While no single region can guarantee exceptional coffee year-after-year, coffees from Tarrazu consistently stand out for their brightness and clean cups, with hints of light berry and apple cider.
That couldn’t be truer of Stockton Graham & Co.’s Costa Rican Tarrazu, which was grown on the estate of Roberto Montero Castro, high in the mountains that are part of the Talamanca Sierra.
The Don Roberto estate is located at an elevation of 5,000 feet—an altitude that generates the trademark juicy citrus fruit flavor that characterizes the region. However, the bean from the Don Roberto estate is a bit more nuanced, with a complex sweetness that’s balanced with hints of spice. Some also taste a bit of cocoa powder and honey that can be enhanced through skillful roasting.
“With such high standards in Costa Rican coffees to start with, conscientious and frequent cupping generates rewards as we seek out the subtle nuances that makes our Tarrazu stand out among its peers,” Brandon Riggs, the roastmaster for Stockton Graham Coffees, explained.
AROMA: Sweet Fruit and Vanilla, Hints of Spice
BODY: Cream, Silky
FLAVOR: Citrus Fruit, Sweet and Juicy
ACIDITY: Clean, Bright
AFTERTASTE: Lingering Balance of Sweet and Spice Notes
A Versatile and Reliable Coffee
“Our Costa Rica Tarrazu is a wonderful coffee that, if brewed properly, is a great fit for any occasion,” said Alex Jeans, a Customer Care Associate and SCAA-Certified Barista. “In fact, due to its complex and nuanced flavor, it is one of our top selling single origin coffees.”
Whether brewing Costa Rica Tarrazu with a commercial drip, French Press or Aero Press, the coffee’s clarity rings through. Just be sure to use the right ratio of coffee to water—roughly 1:16 or 1 gram of coffee per 16 milliliters/grams of water or in other words 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water—and the appropriate grind for your brew method. See our Brewing and Grinding Guide for specific measurements and grinds for your particular brew method.
“I personally enjoy it best when brewed through a V60, a method that is optimal for bringing out the coffees nuances,” Alex Jeans said. “The V60 is the best way to achieve this coffees smooth creamy body and highlights the flavors of citrus fruit and spice. Such a well-rounded coffee is made to be enjoyed morning, noon and night.”
Growth of Tarrazu Region Coffee
The Tarrazu region is in the center of San Jose province, about 70 kilometers south of the Capital San Jose. The region’s unique location across the continental divide brings warm sunny days and chilly nights to numerous coffee farms across the mountainside. Paired with elevations pushing 2,000 meters above sea level, many of these farms have microclimates ideal for coffee growing.
Along the region’s northern border runs the Pirris River, which is dammed to create the very large Pirris Hydroelectric Plant. South of the river, the region is lush with dark foliage and mountains that yield crystal clear waterfalls into the Talamanca valley. Tarrazu’s capital, San Marcos, is located 1,400 meters above sea level, but is surrounded by peaks up to 3,000 meters.
Tarrazu was founded in the 1820s by inhabitants of the Central Valley who migrated to the southwestern town known today as Los Santos. Originally it was known both as Atarazú or Atarrazú, which led the current Tarrazú for phonetic aspect or a misspelled in ancient official documents spelling. In America, we simplify the name further by removing the accent on the final u. Tarrazu’s three provinces are named after saints: San Pablo de León Cortés (Saint Paul), San Marcos de Tarrazú (Saint Mark), and Santa Maria de Dota.
Tarrazu’s earliest residents were dedicated to growing basic foodstuffs, namely beans, corn and sugar cane. Local farmers started growing coffee in the highland valley in the 1890s. In the last hundred years, coffee production has become the region’s primary economic activity, and avocados are now the region’s second largest food crop.
The Art of Processing
Among all the coffee-growing countries of Central America, none compares to Costa Rica in terms of environmental and processing regulations. Beneficios (mills) are kept immaculately clean per the country’s standard, and every beneficio is obliged by law to respect a series of operating conditions to protect the environment.
These conditions are regulated by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Environment: the Coffee Sector must meet the 7 laws and 4 decrees that protect water, forests, biodiversity and disposal of residual waters. All mills must have a Ministry of Health permit, residual water treatment systems and control of their byproducts.
With strict Costa Rican environmental laws, wastewater from the fermentation tanks is treated with natural bacteria to break down the acidity reducing the pH back to levels that are tolerable for the streams and rivers of the country. By using the wood from pruned old coffee trees, along with the parchment from dry milling, many beneficios are able to fire their mechanical dryers without destroying the natural forests. Some of the more inventive mills actually use the methane gasses produced when the bacteria breaks down the fermented pulp to fire the dryers. And, of course, sun-dried coffees are really just “solar” powered, further preserving the environment around the Pirris Hydroelectric plant.
To order our Costa Rica Tarrazu, call a Customer Care Associate at 800.835.5943.