San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Japanese companies pay record $45 a pound for Costa Rica’s best coffee

This year’s highest-scoring Costa Rican coffee received a record $45 a pound in the Cup of Excellence’s online auction, held Tuesday morning. A Brumas del Zurquí coffee in Heredia was awarded 93.47 points in the national cupping competition in May (TT, June 29). Three micro-roasting coffee companies in Japan paid nearly $100,000 for 2,200 pounds of the winning green coffee.

Judges awarded the especially high score to the Heredian coffee for its unique complexity of dried raisin and prune flavors along with floral aromas.

Prior to the auction, Cup of Excellence international judge Bernd Braune said the winner was a surprise to all because Heredia is not particularly known for exceptionally unique micro coffee lots. Over the past five years, coffee producers around Costa Rica have improved their growing and harvesting practices, Braune said, and to see this quality of coffee is exciting.

The buyers of the winning lot are Maruyama Coffee, Yokoi Coffee and Bontain Coffee. The president and founder of Maruyama Coffee, Kentaro Maruyama, is the chairman on the Cup of Excellence’s board of directors. Bontain Coffee’s owner, Yoshi Kato, is also a board member.

A total of 27 Costa Rican coffees were auctioned at an average price of $8.90 a pound, bringing in some $600,000 for Costa Rican coffee producers and the Coffee Institute of Costa Rica.

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