- Category: Business
- Published on Friday, September 16 2011 01:13
- Written by Rod Hughes
- Hits: 850
Costa Rica's coffee has received its geographic identity as grown in this country, a seal that is not only one of prestige but adds to the value of the "golden bean" sold abroad.
Vice President Luis Liberman likened the seal of "Cafe de Costa Rica" to the identification of wine, where certain types of wine are identified by province such as Bordeaux, Champagne, etc., designations that cannot be, by law, labeled on wine grown and bottled elsewhere.
The Ministry of Agriculture announced the awarding of the special trademark last Friday. Some coffee buyers will mix high quality flavor coffee such as Costa Rica produces with with those of countries with a lower quality, such as Brazil to bulk out the ground coffee.
With the geographic designation, the country has a trade mark that indicates that the air, climate and soil produce certain characteristics, such as European wines and cheeses have. (Last January, this country's bananas received the same distinction.)
At one time, U.S. coffee companies tried to apply a "one price fits all" approach but, as the North American coffee market became more sophistocated, as well as its brewing methods improved, high mountain coffees from Colombia and Costa Rica became more sought after.
It might be argued that before the 1980s, most U.S. consumers had no real idea what really good coffee was like. The old Silex "double bulb" coffee machines produced a brew that was bitter if made strong, so the coffee was made weaker by combining it with a blander bean.
Only a few gourmets made coffee in the traditional Costa Rican and European way, hot water poured through a "sock" type of filter. This changed with the introduction of the coffeemaker and the paper filter, although this still does not satisfy the finicky palates of some who swear by the cloth filter.
The problem of poor coffees like the 1950s Maxwell House, Chase and Sanborn and others was made worse by the coffee pot that poured boiling water on the grounds. Boiling releases bitter oils. This offset partly by using less ground coffee as well resulting in a weak brew.
Hint: If you want to get your money's worth out a real cup of real gourmet quality, use this method: Place coffee grounds in a bowl or pan. Boil the water apart, then pour it into the bowl, gently stirring to bathe every particle of coffee, then pour it through a filter.
The moment one lifts the boiling water from the fire, it drops below the boiling point so it will not release the unfortunate oils. (Coffee grounds in a filter tend to compact, meaning that the outer granules only are bathed with water. You may want to use slightly less ground coffee in the bowl or pan because niore flavor us released.)
Costa Rica's regular supermarket coffee is excellent but for really superb coffee, you might want to try a boutique coffee like Sunburst or Britt or a geographical designation such as Tarrazu.