The best coffee tours in Costa Rica showcase the beautiful country’s signature export in a way that’s sure to make a mark on your memory. There is truly something extra special about Costa Rican coffee.
Because of the country’s unique environment with its varied weather patterns and altitudes, the coffee here differs from any you’re likely to have had before. Even Costa Rica’s volcanoes create an ashy soil that lends a more robust flavor to coffee beans.
Coffee beans grown here have higher caffeine levels than other coffee with a full flavor palate. For sweet-toothed travelers out there, you’ll be happy to know that most of these beans also have a full-bodied, delicious chocolate undertone.
If you are a coffee nerd like me, you will absolutely adore visiting Costa Rica’s coffee plantations. Not that you need an excuse to enjoy the natural beauty or charisma of the country – but it does help round out a Costa Rica itinerary.
These great farm tours give an up-close look at coffee production, roasting, and even tasting the beloved bean. Just don’t forget to drop by the gift shop on your way out to grab your own fresh coffee to take home!
What We Cover
- 1. Coffee Lovers Tour – Britt Coffee
- 2. Authentic Coffee Tour – Café Monteverde Farm
- 3. Craft Specialty Coffee and Chocolate Tour – North Fields
- 4. Sustainable Coffee Tour – Doka Estate
- 5. Coffee Cultural Heritage Experience – Espiritu Santo
- 6. A Farming Trifecta – Don Juan Tours
- 7. A Sweet Adventure – Don Olivo Chocolate Tour
- 8. Get Starry Eyed – Hacienda Alsacia Starbucks Coffee Tour
- History of Coffee Production in Costa Rica
- What area of Costa Rica has the best coffee?
- How much does coffee cost in Costa Rica?
|Coffee Lovers Tour
|Heredia (from San José)
|Includes a guided tour of coffee plantation and tasting
|Authentic Coffee Tour
|Visit a local farm, coffee making process, and traditional lunch
|Sustainable Coffee Tour
|Eco-friendly coffee production methods and tasting
1. Coffee Lovers Tour – Britt Coffee
On this half-day tour, taking you from San José to Barva, you can visit the working Britt Coffee plantation. Your tour guide will show you the entire production process of how the beans are grown, harvested, roasted, and eventually end up in your coffee cup each morning.
This coffee tour is popular mainly because it fits easily into a half-day excursion. The company also picks you up from your hotel, limiting how much extra transportation you must deal with.
Given the parameters of touring a coffee farm, this tour is not wheelchair or mobility aid accessible. It is also a smaller tour, limiting its capacity to over two dozen participants. If you want to check out the Britt Coffee farm, book early.
2. Authentic Coffee Tour – Café Monteverde Farm
A dozen families that came together in 1989 comprise the Café Monteverde Farm. Three times a day, visitors can come through for a coffee tour of their plantation. You can witness the transformation from coffee plants to their final destination as tasty beverages.
If booked at least a day in advance, a farm-to-table lunch can be added to coffee plantation tour reservations. These lunches are served all week except for Sunday with garden fresh foods. Expect traditional Costa Rican cuisine.
3. Craft Specialty Coffee and Chocolate Tour – North Fields
For first-time tourists, a coffee and chocolate tour is perfect for Costa Rica – talk about a no-brainer combination. As two of the most vital agricultural products out of the country, cacao and coffee are a match made in heaven.
In addition to learning about cacao and coffee, you’ll also find a working sugar cane plantation at North Fields as well. This one is one of the smaller Costa Rican coffee tours, so book early.
Because the tour limits capacity to eight participants, you get a fuller experience. North Fields is an ideal way to see several products that are vital to the Costa Rican culture and economy.
See Related: One-Week Costa Rica Itinerary
4. Sustainable Coffee Tour – Doka Estate
When you see the Doka Estate, you’ll understand why this is one of the most iconic coffee tour options in Costa Rica. The picturesque Doka Estate allows you to discover the coffee plant, the entire process of harvesting and roasting, and then finally taste the roasted goodness.
Plus, you can enjoy a tasty chocolate and coffee drink during the tour. After the tour, you need to pop into the souvenir shop for some of Doka’s organic coffee or a chorreador.
A chorreador is a type of pour-over-style coffee maker, but the sive is a sock-like item you put the coffee in. It would be best if you also walked around the site to see the botanical garden and the butterfly garden or grab some lunch at Doka’s Costa Rican restaurant.
5. Coffee Cultural Heritage Experience – Espiritu Santo
Part of the larger Espiritu Santo Coffee project started in 2007, this tour gives guests a glimpse into the coffee culture in Costa Rica. You’ll explore Espiritu Santo’s El Mirador ranch, where you’ll taste some of their premier coffee before departing into the fields.
Tours walk you through how the coffee is processed, dried, roasted, and ready for purchase. More than half of this coffee from Costa Rica makes its way to companies like Caribou Coffee Company, Starbucks, and even Peet’s.
You may have had a taste of Espiritu Santo coffee without realizing it! The next time you pay a visit to Starbucks, consider where in the world your drink came from.
See Related: Essential Travel Tips for Visiting Costa Rica
6. A Farming Trifecta – Don Juan Tours
Like many of the other properties on this list, Don Juan is a multi-faceted farm. At Don Juan, you get coffee, chocolate, and sugar cane tours all rolled into one delicious combo: the Don Juan tours Monteverde, and the Don Juan tours Arenal.
Both are working coffee farms in different parts of Costa Rica. The difference is that the Monteverde tour is just coffee without chocolate. In Arenal, you get both a coffee and chocolate tour.
Both tours are roughly two hours long. A Don Juan tour in Arenal is even more perfect if your Costa Rica visit is during the rainy months. The farm foot trails are covered by a glass roof, making this tour excellent even in the rain.
See Related: All-Inclusive Resorts in Costa Rica for Families
7. A Sweet Adventure – Don Olivo Chocolate Tour
On the oh-so-sweet Don Olivo Chocolate Tour in La Fortuna, you get an education in chocolate with samples of local coffee. Enjoy the chocolate experience, where you learn about the process of growing, harvesting, and preparing cacao for consumption.
From there, you can sample Costa Rican coffee, fruit, spices, and even sugar cane at Don Olivo. On top of everything else produced at this farm, they also grow a strain of cacao known as criollo.
Criollo is one of the rarest cacao strains in the world. Less than 1% of cacao grown is this particular purity, so make it a point to experience it on your next trip.
8. Get Starry Eyed – Hacienda Alsacia Starbucks Coffee Tour
Over in Alajuela, near the mighty Poas Volcano, resides the Hacienda Alsacia plantation, where coffee for Starbucks is grown. In fact, it is the very first and currently only coffee production facility owned by Starbucks!
Enjoy a day learning about how the Seattle-based coffee company strives for sustainable growth and community-building partnerships with small, family-run farms. A property tour is just about 90 minutes, during which you’ll learn about the history of Starbucks’ interaction with Costa Rica and how they process their coffee plants.
After your tour, why not grab a cup at the on-site cafe and browse the gift shop for a themed souvenir to take back? If you’re staying in San José, the nearly 600-acre farm is only about an hour away.
History of Coffee Production in Costa Rica
Costa Rica was the first Central American country to commercialize coffee after its introduction from Cuba in 1779. Production began in 1808 and has been a significant part of the country’s agricultural identity.
Coffee quickly became one of the largest industries in Costa Rica, and by the time it was exported in 1820, it was obvious that coffee would sustain Costa Rica for a long time. Outpacing tobacco, sugar cane, and all other exports for decades, Costa Rica’s economy boomed.
Modernization quickly followed, so it’s easy to see how the country became so attuned to this caffeinated goodness. Now, Costa Rican coffee is still considered some of the best in the world and can be found all over the globe.
The coffee growing process’s agricultural toll on the country leaves some issues. The coffee industry has negatively impacted Costa Rica’s rivers. Surrounding rivers and waterways suffer pollution from the separation and de-pulping processes during bean processing.
Although its production has dipped over time, coffee is still one of Costa Rica’s top exports year after year. The provinces of the country that produce the most coffee are San José, Alajuela, Puntarenas, Cartago, and Heredia.
What area of Costa Rica has the best coffee?
As stated above, Costa Rica coffee is differently flavored from other areas primarily because of the country’s unique physical characteristics. Of the seven coffee-growing regions in the country, both Tarrazu and Tres Rios are considered the best-growing regions. Both have higher acidity, body, and distinct aroma.
How much does coffee cost in Costa Rica?
It depends on what kind of coffee you are purchasing. Costa Rica coffee is Arabica style and is generally not very expensive.
Regular, local beans will cost less than $5 for a 12-ounce bag, and more specialty brands are unlikely to run you more than $10. Green coffee beans will also run more than traditional beans, so keep that in mind.