San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica’s best coffee is from Naranjo

Twenty international judges evaluated more than 30 Tico coffee samples and determined that Costa Rica’s best coffee is produced in Naranjo, Alajuela, at 1,650 meters above sea level, and in San Marcos de Tarrazú, south of the capital.

Two coffee processing centers, or beneficios, located in these cantons took the top spots in the “2013 Costa Rica Cup of Excellence” Friday evening.

Of the 30 samples tested, 22 surpassed the minimum qualification of 85, needed to participate in a worldwide online auction that will take place on June 19.

Oldermar Arrieta and his wife, Marlene Brenes, are the owners of “Beneficio Vista al Valle” in Naranjo, where they sell their coffee. Now they expect to sell it across the country.

They were extremely happy for the win, especially since the company is 100-percent family-run. The couple operates the farm and beneficio with only the help of three children.

Last year’s Cup of Excellence was won by Beneficio Brumas del Zurquí, from Heredia. Representatives of Costa Rica in the global auction were able to obtain up to $45 a pound for their coffee.

Judges said they were impressed with the quality on display at this year’s competition, especially since a decrease in international coffee prices and losses caused by coffee rust fungus have affected many coffee farms in Costa Rica. It is estimated that more than 90 of the farms affected are run by small farmers.

Contact L. Arias at

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