Costa Rican coffee comes to China

By Yin Yeping Source:Global Times Published: 2016-4-17 19:48:01

Ricardo Javier León Pérez, the Cost Rican Ambassador to China, and his wife Longina Fonseca Quirós sip Costa Rican coffee after demonstrating how it is made. Photo: Yin Yeping/GT

Costa Rica is famous for its abundant and various natural resources, thriving tourism industry and quality coffee.

Located in Central America, Costa Rica, which means "the rich coast" in Spanish, joins the most southern and northern points of the American continents and as such enjoys a rich cultural and natural diversity.

Costa Rica's rainforest is home to a great assembly of animals, including around 900 kinds of birds. It shares a coastline of more than 1,200 kilometers with the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean.

The country has many majestic mountains, but it is its volcanoes, more specifically its rich soil, which is a key factor in the production of its world renowned coffee.

Beside a big wooden table in the guest room of the Costa Rican Embassy in Beijing, Ricardo Javier León Pérez, the Costa Rican Ambassador to China, and his wife Longina Fonseca Quirós demonstrate the traditional way of making Costa Rican coffee for the Global Times. The ambassador hopes to promote his country's coffee on the Chinese market.

In Costa Rica, the traditional way of making coffee is still widely practiced. Coffee is one of the most important products in the economy, and people regard it as an indispensable part of their social life, according to Pérez and Quirós.

As Pérez explained his country's coffee culture and what it means to every Costa Rican, Quirós deftly showed how traditional Costa Rican coffee is made using a chorreador - a coffee making device that consists of a wooden stand that holds a long cylindrical cotton filter shaped like a pocket.

She first placed coffee grounds into the filter before pouring hot water over it, allowing the brewed coffee to drip into a cup below.

"The Costa Rican coffee culture is similar to the Chinese tea culture, and we are very proud of our coffee as much as the Chinese are proud of their tea," said Pérez.

Like tea, coffee's flavor and appearance depend on the weather and the location of the plantation, said Pérez.

"We have plantations in different locations," he further explained. "A good coffee is a mix of different varieties of coffee [beans]."

Costa Rica has a much stronger coffee culture than perhaps anywhere else in the world. For example, in the business community, coffee breaks are mandated by law.

According to Costa Rican law, there should be two coffee breaks per day. Employers are supposed to give their employees time to enjoy a cup of coffee every day at about 9 am and 3 pm.

Coffee drinking is also a family activity. Pérez recalled the pleasant times he spent drinking coffee with his father growing up. His father was an agricultural engineer in Costa Rica's Ministry of Agriculture, and it was his job to advise farmers on the best ways to grow coffee.

Quirós, who started drinking coffee at an early age, has similar fond memories with her family."I still remember how my grandmother prepared coffee for me when I was just about five years old. It was the first time I had coffee, and my grandma taught me how to make it," said Quirós.

"My cousins and I used to run around the table and enjoy coffee together," she said. "For me, coffee is love because it puts the family and the memories together. When I prepare coffee, the memories of my grandmother come back to me, and it's beautiful."

Posted in: Press Release, Enterprise

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