Our Costa Rican Coffee

Our Rain Forest Alliance Costa Rican coffee comes from a family farm in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. Since the late 1960’s, Hacienda La Minita has been the foundation of our company. We have exported coffee under the La Minita banner since 1985, becoming one of the initial coffees to be sold as a single estate coffee in the world. Milling operations were added in the early 2000’s and in 2014, the operation was acquired by ITO EN. The farm management team has been in place for over 40 years. The land, buildings and management team are collectively referred to as Hacienda La Minita. La Minita means “the small mine.” Traditionally, local legend has it that pre-Columbian indigenous people came to look for gold on the land that is now the farm.

The plantation consists of a total of 1,200 acres of land of which 800 acres are currently in production. Of the remaining 400 acres, there are 200 acres of natural forest preserve located on the south side of the farm that will never be brought into coffee production.

The Origins of Costa Rican Coffee

Costa Rican Coffee Culture

Costa Rica’s coffee culture is as rich as its high-altitude volcanic soil, and the country’s eight growing regions each have such unique varieties that you could devote the better part of a year trying to appreciate the nuance and subtlety of one region and you’d end where you began—with astonishment.

The surprising variations in flavor across Costa Rica’s growing regions stem in part from a history with coffee that goes back more than 200 years.

Small Farms: Big Difference

Coffee was a chief export under Spanish rule and when Costa Rica broke free from Spain in the early 1800s, the government began giving away land to anyone who wanted to grow coffea arabica. (Robusta is actually outlawed in Costa Rica). Today there are more than 50,000 coffee farmers working small plots of land.

These growers, working on farms at elevations of 1,600 to 6,200 feet, contend with an accompanying range in temperature, rain, and humidity, creating the need for finely tuned processes that optimize the quality of their yields.

Micro Climates and Micro Mills

Thus Costa Rica’s micro climates have created generations of coffee farmers with a nuanced understanding of the land they inhabit and the impact of many small choices on their final product.

Perhaps this is why micro-mills have started a sort of revolution among Costa Rica’s coffee growers. Over the last 20 years, farmers have increasingly taken ownership of their entire process from planting to harvesting to processing.

Country: Costa Rica

Altitude: 1300-1800 Meters

Designation: Rain Forest Alliance

Variety: Caturra, Catuai Red, Catuai Yellow, and Tipica Hibrido

How We're Making a Difference

Hacienda La Manita is commited to not only sustainable farming practices, but taking care of their people.

Matching funds are contributed to the workers’ association savings plans. Access to an "at cost" commissary on the farm for the workers provides inexpensive necessaties for daily living.

A medical clinic is located on the farm near the administration building. A doctor staffs this clinic two days a week to administer to the needs of the workers and their families. We also have a dentist at the farm three days a week to attend to the dental needs of the farm community.