Coffee from Costa Rica

The 18th Century

Costa Rican coffee sums up in itself the history of the country that has been its home for more than two centuries. In fact, coffee has been for a long time the basis to mark the pace of Costa Rican life and economy. The records indicate that the first two-pound load of coffee seeds came to Costa Rica in the 18th century.


A priest named Félix Velarde has been historically recognized as the first cultivator of coffee. When he made his last will and testament in 1816, he mentioned the fact that he owned a plot of land planted with coffee.


Historical data indicate that the first 100-pound load of coffee was exported to Panama in 1820.


By 1832, coffee was already being exported to Chile by a German merchant residing in Costa Rica, whose name was Georg Stiepel. In that South American country it was repacked, and was then sold in England as “Chilean Coffee from Valparaiso.”


This was the year when the region that is now called Coto Brus, in the southeastern area of Costa Rica bordering on Panama, was discovered by the Spanish explorer Perafán de Rivera.


In 1940, many people from Panama emigrated to this area in order to start cultivating coffee. Their efforts reached a peak in 1949.


A group of Italian immigrants arrived in the area in 1951. The village of San Vito, located in the area known as Santa Elena and incorporated as a township in 1965, was the point where the best coffee was produced—CAFÉ SAN VITO.