Coffee has been growing in Costa Rica since the 19th century. After independence from Spain was declared in 1821, the government gave free coffee seeds to the population. 4 years later, the government went even further by exempting coffee from taxes. International trade increased sharply, especially with England, so that coffee was almost the only export product from 1846-1890. Coffee laid the foundations for Costa Rica's infrastructure: the first railroad tracks connecting Costa Rica to the Atlantic Ocean, the first post office, or the San Juan de Dios Hospital. Culturally, the coffee industry also had a strong influence: the National Theater, the first bookstores and the Santo Tomas University could be built.
The 'Institute for the Defence of Coffee' plays an elementary role in the development of the high quality 'Specialty Coffee'. The Institute protects small farmers from exploitation. Today, the ICAFE is responsible for ensuring the quality of Costa Rican coffee.
The flavor profile of Costa Rican coffees is characterized by a full rich body with refreshing acids.