Trying to avoid tourist trap beans in Costa Rica
May 22, 2011 9:15 AM   Subscribe

Where in Costa Rica do we buy great coffee beans?

I'm in Costa Rica, I like coffee, I hear that there are lots of great coffee producers here. Every hole in the wall souvenir shop and nature park gift shop has bags of randomly labeled ground coffee that's been sitting on the shelves for who knows how long. I'd really like to buy a couple pounds of great whole bean coffee to take home to friends. Where can I get it? I'm in Monteverde right now, we're driving to Alajuela via Sarchi today and eventually flying out of San Jose. Is there a Market or gift shop that sells what I'm looking for?
posted by tula to Travel & Transportation around Costa Rica (7 answers total)
The Common Cup in Santa Elena! The farmers process, roast, and sell their own coffee. Ken will give you a roasting lesson, too, if you'd like!

You probably don't have time today, but they also do an awesome tour of one of their farms.
posted by amarynth at 9:27 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seriously, I would just go to the grocery store. I can't remember the brand, but the coffee they sell to the locals is outstanding. Should only cost about 2,000 colones or so. You'll be able to tell which brand, it's the one everyone else is buying. I bought it for my friends and they absolutely loved it. Labeled 'grano entero' (if you aren't familiar with Spanish). If you have a grocery store choice, I prefer Mega Super or Mas por Menos (Super Pali is owned by Walmart, so I consider it to be the Central American 9th circle of hell).
posted by bolognius maximus at 10:21 AM on May 22, 2011

I bought coffee gifts from the grocery store. San Jose has plenty of grocery stores. I believe it was also in a grocery store that I bought a local coffee liqueur, which was so very amazing. Having said that, I came home and named this photo Best Coffee in the Whole World, so there's that, too. I had it filed as Monteverde, but I believe it's actually in Santa Elena, which is just up the road.
posted by Houstonian at 10:35 AM on May 22, 2011

Many may disagree with me, but the plain old Cafe Britt dark roast in the green bag that you can get in any supermarket has been my favorite for a decade. Don't get sucked in by all their other weird varieties, eg: "shade grown" "blah blah" "blargh blargh"..... just go for the dark roast.
posted by TravellingDen at 11:22 AM on May 22, 2011

Yeah: anywhere. Buy what the locals are buying.
posted by trip and a half at 1:32 PM on May 22, 2011

Grocery store absolutely. WAY cheaper than any of the tourist traps and it's exactly the same thing.
posted by sweetkid at 2:25 PM on May 22, 2011

Cafe Milagro is great. Plus, if you miss them there, they ship.
posted by rtimmel at 9:24 AM on May 23, 2011

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