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September 2011

September Newsletter from J. Martinez & Company
J. Martinez & Company - Coffee Merchants
September 2011

Company Newsletter
26 September, 2011

Costa Rica & Coffee

This newsletter we offer up a little information about Costa Rica and coffee. This small country has been an oasis in a turbulent region, and its coffee history has taken a different path from its neighbors as well. Costa Rica has a long-time democracy and unusual not just in Latin America, but the world, for not having a standing army. Costa Rica is sometimes called the Switzerland of Central America.

Costa Rica developed as a coffee producer more slowly than other parts of Latin America, but it developed into one of the finest coffee producing regions in the world. The farms that developed were smaller and tended by proprietors who typically lived, and worked, on their land. In other parts of Latin America large landholdings were common, with proprietors who did not spend all their time, much less work, on their estates. In Costa Rica though, the lack of labor meant that what laborers they had were better treated. The coffee growers did struggle with the much better-funded "beneficios" (coffee mills) who processed the coffee, but, with government intervention, the conflict was minimized.

Costa Rica Coffee Plantation In the last 20 years Costa Rica has benefited from the focus on estate and single origin beans, rather than earlier focus on brands that profited the large coffee mills more than the farmers. The coffee from Costa Rica, especially the “Strictly Hard Bean” (the designation for beans grown above 4,500 feet) is characterized by its rich, bright flavor. Costa Rica produces some classic coffees, and we have three representatives, from the three top regions of the country.

Bill McAlpin’s focus on excellent cultivation and processing has made "Hacienda La Minita", of the Tarrazu region, famous. A very fine cup of coffee, characterized by its full body, sweet aroma and great acidity that makes it finish cleanly on the palate.

Our “San Gabriel” from the Dota region is one of our standout coffees. The beans from the Dota region tend to be very dense, and the coffee rich and flavorful with more body than most Costa Rican coffees. Our Dota is the most full-bodied coffee we offer from Costa Rica and has a hint of chocolate.

“La Magnolia” with its sweet aroma and bright clean taste is a standout from the Tres Rios region. One our our best morning coffees, it has a snap that wakes your palate.