Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions about our Gourmet Costa Rica Tarrazu Coffees and other issues.
*Are all Tarrazu brands the same?
Not at all. There are no regulators who require roasters to be legitimate while branding coffees as Tarrazu. Usually, small amounts of actual Tarrazu grown beans of any grades (usually low grades) are included in these so called Tarrazu Coffee. Only coffees that are grown and packaged in The Costa Rica Tarrazu Valley (area around the Town of San Marcos) by the farmers themselves can be safely called "100% Costa Rica Tarrazu Coffee."
* What activities are available on the Tarrazu Valley?
Please visit our Costa Rica Tarrazu coffee Tour section for more Info.
* Where is the Tarrazu Valley?
Tarrazu is located in Southern Costa Rica, in the Talamanca Sierra facing the Pacific coast. It is aprox. 60 Kilometers north from the Port of Quepos in the Pacific side, and about 70 kilometers south of the Costa Rican Capital, San Jose.
Maps of Costa Rica, and the Tarrazu Valley are available. Click here.
* How do I get there?
Don Evelio Coffee farm office is located at 200 North of MAG, San Marcos de Tarrazu, Costa Rica 8055. Don Evelio Tarrazu Gourmet Coffee Estate farms are located on the Central Pacific section of the Talamanca mountain range, near the port of Quepos and world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park.
Flights from mainland USA as well as South America and Europe flights arrive often at Juan Santamaria International airport. Major Airlines offer non-stop service from Miami and Los Angeles to Costa Rica. This makes for easy connections from mainland flights, or allows easy Latin American travel.
From the airport, drive southeast on Bernardo Soto highway to San Jose and then to Cartago, at the foothills of the Irazu Volcano. Turn south, up to the Talamanca Mountains via the Inter-American highway. Once at "El Empalme" gas station, at almost 3000 meters above sea level, turn right to the narrow, paved road which goes down through the heart of the Tarrazu Highlands. Keep driving southwest throught the scenic hills for about 15 miles. You will pass the towns of El Jardin, Quebradillas, Santa Maria, El Llano, Guadalupe and finally San Marcos de Tarrazu. Don Evelio Estate farm is located further north in the more steep area of San Marcos, the Pirris river Basin, near Downtown.
* Do I need a rental car?
Probably. The airport is 50 miles north of San Marcos de Tarrazu. There are taxis at the airport too. There is local bus service from the Airport to San Jose. Once in San Jose, take a cab and go to the "Barrio Lujan" San Jose neighbourhood and take the "Los Santos" bus service which will get you the the highlands in aprox. 1 hour and a half. Remember, although Costa Rica is small compared to other countries, is large enough to get lost. Some of the more interesting and fun things to do will require a car.
* How do I get Hotel accommodations in the Tarrazu Valley?
There are 5 Hotels in San Marcos, and 2 bed and breakfast in Santa Maria. We strongly recommend not to stay at those Hotels since most are low rated. Unfortunately, we cannot suggest people to stay at any of those given the circumstances. The closest 5 star hotels are in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio beaches or San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, where Marriott, Holiday Inn and many other good Hotels are located.
* Why is the town/village called San Marcos de Tarrazu and why the coffee from this town is called Genuine Tarrazu?
Tarrazu is an Indian Name and most likely refer to the mountain that is located north of the valley which features a huge cross at the top, built by Roman Catholics in the early 1920's. The town was baptized San Marcos by a Guatemalan priest after observing striking resemblance to the Guatemalan region of San Marcos. This town is located in the Tarrazu county where the highest elevation, best Costa Rica gourmet coffee farms of San Guillermo, San Pedro, La Pastora, El Rodeo, Canet, and La Laguna are located. Early coffee traders came to label and promote the coffee from this valley as Tarrazu because of that.
*Is it the acid that makes my stomach hurt?
Definitely no! Stomach aches originates from drinking low grade, poorly processed, lower elevation-grown coffees. Try our gourmet coffees and you will notice the difference.
*Are coffee beans that sell in the supermarket fresh?
When roasted coffee beans are exposed to oxygen the taste qualities fade very quickly.
*How should I store my coffee beans?
Do what you can to limit the amount of oxygen they are exposed to. Use air-tight containers when possible and store in the refrigerator, NOT the freezer.
*Do you sell Costa Rica Tarrazu Blends?
A Strong and loud no. We only sell 100% Pure Primera Costa Rica Tarrazu Specialty coffee.
*Are Don Evelio coffees high in acidity (do not confuse with acid coffee)?
Costa Rica Tarrazu gourmet coffee is a high grown Arabica coffee. Our Strictly hard bean coffees are grown in altitudes of 1,400 meters or more and are naturally high in acidity compared to coffee grown at lower altitudes. Expert tasters gives high grades to our coffees not only because of that, but also because roasters profit from roasting hard coffee beans. This high grown coffee is more flavorful and gives a brightness to the flavor. It takes longer to roast a Costa Rican Strictly hard bean Tarrazu than coffees grown in regions close to the coast or located in lower elevations. However, weight loss is less compared to other coffees.
* What is most important to bring to the Tarrazu Valley?
Light-comfortable clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat, plus a jacket for the cool highland evenings. Costa Rica is very casual and you can go almost everywhere in shorts, t-shirts, or sundresses. Bring good, closed-toed walking shoes if you plan to visit our Don Evelio Tarrazu farms or go hiking.
Don't worry if you forgot something. San Marcos has stores so you'll be able to buy what you forgot.
* What's the weather going to be like?
Warm and tropical, but not overly humid. The temperatures vary only a little with the seasons. In January it might drop to 14 degrees Celsius at night; in April, maybe it will be 30 Celsius; most of the time the afternoon high is 20-25 Celsius. It can get pretty warm in the sun so be sure to wear your sunblock and a hat, and if you are visiting between May and November, the rainy season, an umbrella is most recommended.
* What time is it in San Marcos de Tarrazu, Costa Rica?
Costa Rica does not observe daylight savings time. During US daylight savings time (April thru October)
Costa Rica is 2 hours behind Pacific,
Same hour as Mountain,
1 ahead Central
2 hours ahead Eastern,
7 hours ahead Greenwich.
This makes it easy to get to Costa Rica in a day.
* What about food?
There are several local restaurants in that area that are average. However, places like Restaurante Tachos and Pizzeria Las Tejas are most recommended. For groceries, there are several supermarkets including Mega Super, and Super Tacho. Be prepared for prices that are a bit lower than mainland US. Perishables will definitely cost more, however. Breakfast cereal is also pricey, but look for sales. You might even try "La Troja" for grocery items such as cereal and sodas. The local Liquor Store seem to have the best Local spirits selection in town. Do not expect the local grocery stores and supermarkets to carry 100% Costa Rica Tarrazu coffee, especially because most coffees for locals are cheap and most often mixed with sugar. Please contact us at TarrazuCafe office in downtown if you want the best coffee.
* Anything a "first-timer" should know? What didn't you know the first time you visited?
It's not as hot or humid as expected. Slow your pace a little and you'll be quite comfortable outdoors.
Most restaurants are not air-conditioned. It's OK, though, since Costa Rica is so beautiful and the weather so pleasant, why would you want to be inside in the artificial air?
There aren't smoking sections laws for restaurants. Don't forget to ask for a non-smoking section if smoke bothers you.
* Where are the beaches?
Well, some folks would say there are no beaches near San Marcos de Tarrazu, but that's not true. The 30-mile long road from San Marcos to Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park is not exactly the ideal road to get there. However, from December to May, all kinds of vehicles can take the road back and forth to Manuel Antonio with huge stretches of Jurassic Park-like Tropical Rain forests both sides of the road. There are some very nice ones on the Costa Rica Central Pacific coast. Our favorite is Espadilla, Matapalo and Esterillos. Check out the guide books for directions and recommendations.
There are some fabulous places to snorkel & scuba dive here with excellent visibility and lots of underwater life to observe.
* Where can I get the best information about Costa Rica before my trip?
We recommend you visit the following web pages beforehand
*What is Parchment Coffee and Green Coffee?
Parchment coffee is just dried coffee with the seed covering still on it.
Green Coffee is Coffee before it is Roasted.
* What is Café Primera Tarrazu?
Café de Primera Tarrazu (Green or Roasted) refers to a Grade of coffee that has First Quality normal and peaberry gourmet Costa Rica Tarrazu beans in it.
Peaberry is a coffee bean shaped like a football. It's one bean and not a half bean like the majority of the harvest. Peaberry is only 5% of the total harvest. Its flavor is an extra special one.
*What Medium Roast, Full-City and Dark or Vienna roast refer to?
Medium Roast coffee is when the roasted coffee is roasted to the first crack. It's a brown color with no oils showing, The highest caffeine percentage. This is the favorite roast.
Full-city roast refers to coffee roasted to second crack. It's brown in color with a few drops of oil showing. A little less caffeine than medium roast.
Dark or Vienna roast is roasted to second crack and left in the roaster a little longer than full-city. It's brown in color and covered in oil. Dark Vienna is used for espresso. It has the least amount of caffeine of all the roasts.
Are Don Evelio Costa Rica coffee Farms big processors? No. We are small family farms that are in no rush to process like the big roasteries. We roast one batch at a time with extra care.
What is the traditional Costa Rica method of processing coffee TarrazuCafe farms use? Traditionally Costa Rica Coffee is slowly processed, pulped the day it's picked, and soaked overnight in a tub of water. Natural fermentation removes jelly like membrane around bean.
Coffee is then washed, and set out on drying decks or patios till dry. It takes 3 to 7 days to dry depending on weather (Most big processors dry on deck for 1 day then put their coffee into dryers for 14 hours or whatever it takes to remove moisture. You can tell the difference between sun dried and machine dried). Coffee is then bagged and stored and we let it "rest" for at least 2 weeks.
*How long does coffee stay fresh?
If the coffee is kept in a container that has a check valve, and stored in a dark cool place, it will stay fresh for about 2 months. For this reason we don't roast till we get a order. Then we roast to order, and send priority mail that same day.
*Why is Don Evelio Costa Rica Tarrazu gourmet coffee more expensive then the other "Tarrazu" coffees found in the market?
Why? Because the demand for our coffees are high. Truth in labelling, origin and a sense of place is what put us above all other so-called Tarrazus found in the market. Besides, we do all the processing ourselves (family members) in an artisan way. We're family own farms, and you are purchasing farm direct. Last but not least, it is very aromatic, floral and sweet, with acidity at its best ( do not confuse with sourness which is a bad attribute )
*What makes Don Evelio specialty coffee different?
Estate grown: Our coffees are grown in small, family owned estate farms located in the San Marcos de Tarrazu Valley, Costa Rica. An active system of sustainable agriculture is practiced on each estate farm ensuring quality in every cup. Also, again, the aroma above all.
*Is Don Evelio Tarrazu coffee a shade grown coffee?
Yes. The shading of the Arabica coffee trees is an important element in the management of coffee farms. Many of the varieties of the shade trees are legumes called "Poro" which help fix nitrogen into the soil. The "Poros" are also beneficial to the migratory patterns of many birds.
* Do you roast your own coffee?
Yes, we roast and package Don Evelio Costa Rica gourmet Coffee in Barrio Santa Cecilia, San Marcos de Tarrazu, Costa Rica.
* Is Don Evelio gourmet coffees real coffees or made from something else?
Our coffees are 100% pure arabica Costa Rican Tarrazu specialty coffee, grown in small farms located high in the mountains around the town of San Marcos de Tarrazu.
* How long have you been in business?
Our families started growing coffee and roasting for consumption in the Tarrazu valley as early as 1895. We were the first families who exported Tarrazu coffee to Europe. We were the first farms to have independent third party recognition for the coffees we grow.
If you have any questions / suggestions about Don Evelio gourmet Costa Rica Coffees we would love to hear from you.
You can email or send us a note at the addresses below.
DON EVELIO Coffee Co.
Phone: 602380 3417 - Phoenix Arizona, USA
Fincas Tarrazu Cafe S.A.
200 Norte MAG
San Marcos de Tarrazu
Costa Rica, 8055