Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Bloodless Cup?

Studying coffee today. And drinking it too.

Did you know... Costa Rica is one of the few Latin American countries, or possibly the only one, whose coffee industry lacks a bloody history of some kind? The theory goes that there wasn't enough cheap labor--i.e., natives--around to oppress, so the farms were smaller, poorer, and more "egalitarian." Naturally the same conditions applied to all sorts of farms, not just coffee, but we are talking about a crop that has had a major impact on the country's history. Bear in mind that this is a nation that abolished its military altogether in 1949. Hard to imagine any other Latin country pulling that one off.

What I'm wondering is if that unique history might somehow affect the flavor of what's in the cup. I mean, beyond the effect that a good story has. Which is considerable.

Costa Rica is also home to La Minita, one of the best-regarded growers among international coffee geeks. It's an export coffee that's somewhat available in the U.S., but I have yet to see a bean of the stuff within its home country. Maybe I ought to get out there and have a look-see.


  1. yo Joe ... I got just the guy for you to ask! This guy up here in Cartago who bought and roasted the beans for the expresso porter I made on the pilot system... let me know and I will introduce you to him.. very interesting fellow. I call him the coffee natzi... remember the Sinfeld 'soup natzi"? He is as passionate about coffe as we are about beer, and he expresses that feeling everytime he serves his products! CS

  2. I was thinking of that guy yesterday. Maybe you could introduce us next time I'm down in Cartago. Which will be really soon, I hope.