Over 60 countries produce and export coffee. They are located 10 degrees above and below the equator where frost is not a factor. Every country produces good to great coffee as well as filler and triage with little flavor value. Like any crop, there are good growing regions in each country, and lesser regions where climatic conditions are not optimal.

What you need to know is this; a single origin coffee marketed with a country name may be no better than what is inside a can of mass-marketed inexpensive coffee. There is no guarantee that your Costa Rican beans are the best that country produces.

Here are some things to look for to help you make your single origin coffee purchase:

Is there abundant information on the package or bin card?
Is the coffee certified as an organic or fair trade coffee? (Certified coffees are usually better cared for.)
Is the coffee from a specific cooperative that is named?
Are there tasting notes that you can relate to?
Is the coffee light or medium in color? Why purchase by country if the roast color is too dark to taste the terroir?

It is fair to say that the more the artisan roaster wants to tell you about the coffee, the more they have put themselves on the line. So their reputation is tied to the coffee.

Rarity impacts price, not necessarily flavor. So it is always the case that a new crop Nicaraguan coffee from Matagalpa at $11.00/pound will always be as good as a Hawaiaan Kona at $32.00/pound although the flavor nuances at the highest grades might be a bit different. Don’t be sucked into the wrong price for flavor.