Sunday, June 28, 2009

Land Banking

What is land banking? - Land banking is the acquisition of land in advance of expanding urbanization. The price of an open space parcel not yet subject to urban development pressures will probably be more closely based on current rather than speculative land uses.

What are the benefits and upsides of land banking?

  • Land has the potential to experience tremendous appreciation if bought in the way of growth, or if a higher and better use can be achieved.

  • Owner financing can often be obtained through the seller at below-market rates.

  • Subdividing can create added value and provide for immediate returns.

  • Bricks and mortar depreciate, well selected land increases in value.

  • Land is in limited supply “they just aint making any more of it”

What are the potential downsides?

  • Negative cash flow; usually the land does not generate any income while you pay the principle, interest, taxes and costs of development.

  • Tax advantages are scanty as land cannot be depreciated.

  • Generally, raw land is considered a long-term ill-liquid investment that often takes time before gains can be realized.

  • Risk of loss on resale can occur if you choose poorly, fail to evaluate and negotiate properly, the economy slips or various other unforeseen events occur.

  • It is difficult to obtain traditional financing on or borrow against accrued equity.

When buying land for land banking what should you look out for?

  • The worst you can buy is swamp or marshland.

  • Most often flat land is the least expensive to develop and the most desired for building purposes.

  • Land with barren rock will increase costs and virtually eliminate a basement just the same as a high water table.

  • Plots with trees, a view, rectangular in shape, a gentle slope or none and a good location are most preferred.

  • Streams can boost values by 100% in some cases.

  • Many people are literally being driven to the hills. Granted the views can be spectacular but roads, utilities, water, sewer, and foundations, such as pilings, can add to building costs

How does Finca Di Pacifico Dos stand out?

  • Teak growing on your plot offsets the negative cash flow – providing a positive cashflow at harvest, prior to onward sale or development of your plot.

  • All plots come with permission to build one residence

  • Services - water and electricity are on site.

  • Many have river views and sea views

  • Tourist development is quickly encroaching on Finca Di Pacifico Dos with a new marina under development, the opening of a new port and docking facility in Puntarenas and many new hotels in Puntarenas and surrounding areas.

  • As the baby boomer generation begins to retire your teak will have matured and be ready for harvest as demand for land continues to rise.

  • There are multiple exit strategies

Finca Di Pacifico Dos may be “the perfect investment”, the teak providing a secure return whilst the land has the potential for spectacular increases in value.

So you can invest right now and have a rich future!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Press Release Listing

Below are a listing of recent Press Releases from Costa Rica Invest. To see the press release just click on the link:

Arenal Volcano and National Park

Arenal Volcano National Park is one of the treasures of any visit to Costa Rica and a must visit destination

Buried Treasure on Cocos Island Costa Rica.

Cocos Island Costa Rica, boasts an incredible diversity of plant and animal life, the best diving in the world and buried pirate treasure!

IMF predicts Costa Rica and Latin America will be first to recover from the global economic crises

Positive predictions from IMF representatives about Costa Rica are great news for investors in Costa Rica.

30 Rare Endangered Scarlet Macaws Released on the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Los Delfines Golf and Country Club set an ambitions target in 1996 - to develop a successful breeding program for the endangered scarlet macaw, and repopulate the Nicoya Peninsula with these beautiful colourful birds.

What sets Costa Rica Apart?

A truly integrated holistic approach to the environment and the country’s economic development is what sets Costa Rica, the principal emerging economy in Central America, apart from every other country worldwide.

Timber the Best Performing Asset of the last 100 years!

Timber has outperformed inflation by 3.3% since 1910 and offers a secure high yield investment despite the global downturn, reduction in construction and reduced consumer demand for timber products.

7th Most Politically Stable Country World Wide Located in Central America

A recent report by The Economist Intelligence Unit lists Costa Rica as the 7th most politically stable country worldwide. Further it is the 7th least likely to encounter social unrest as a result of current global economic conditions.

Price Increase In Finca Di Pacifico Dos Early Investors See the Value of Investments Rise by 142%

Prices in Finca Di Pacifico Dos our premier project have increased further with immediate effect. Early investors have now seen the value of their investment rise by 142% over the past 24 months.

Investors and Businesses in Costa Rica to Benefit from New Tax

Costa Rica has introduced new taxation to benefit business and encourage continuing investment into Costa Rica.

Costa Rica and France Work Together in the Battle Against Climate Change

Costa Rica and France have agreed to cooperate closely in the battle against climate change.

Prospects for Costa Rica Remain Attractive for Investors

Costa Rica has been affected by the global economic downturn, but it has not been as badly affected as many other countries and the prospects remain attractive.

Great News for the Environment, Costa Rica Continues on its Eco Friendly Path

Costa Rica aspires to be the world’s first carbon neutral nation by 2021 and it is right on track.

Is Costa Rica Paradise on Earth? “La Pura Vida” is Good for You and Helps You Live Longer.

Costa Rica has the longest life expectancy in the Western Hemisphere and building your dream home in Costa Rica may actually be good for your health and help you live longer.

Costa Rica chosen as the headquarters of the US Food and Drug Administration in Latin America.

The USA has chosen Costa Rica to locate the headquarters for the Food and Drug Administration in Latin America, because of its strategic location and also because of the excellent relations that already exist between the two countries.

Purchasers in Di Pacifico Dos, Costa Rica, to see the value of their investment rise by 112%

Di Pacifico Dos is a unique opportunity to invest in land and teak in Costa Rica. The land registration process is on track and today price increases for the remaining land are announced.

Good News - Green Investments are the only way forward?

The UN recommends, Deutsche Bank agrees and HSBC’s figures show that green investments will help avoid a severe recession. So you can make a green investment, make a great return and help the global economy.

Recession, What Recession?

3000 new jobs were created in Costa Rica in 2008, with 30 new companies established and US$428.6 million invested. 2009 will present its challenges but the early signs for economic growth in Costa Rica during the forthcoming year are encouraging.

Costa Rica Invest Launches New Website

Costa Rica Invest launched their new website today. The reformatted and redesigned website is designed to be a major information source on teak, development land and Costa Rica.

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

Costa Rica Invest’s latest project has sold all of its smaller plots but there are still opportunities available. In particular the re-release to the market of a group of sea view plots represents a “not to be missed” investment opportunity.

Costa Rica is the Second Most Globalized Country in Central and Southern America.

The Latin Globalization index ranks Costa Rica as the second most globalized nation in Central and Southern America. Foreign inward investment will increase due to their increasing trade and tourism combined with a highly educated workforce

More Great News About Trees

We know trees are good for the environment, removing carbon from the atmosphere and reducing global warming. A recent discovery shows that a chemical released by trees helps to cool the planet further by thickening cloud cover over forests.

Costa Rica’s Carbon Neutrality Will Affect Land Prices

Costa Rica aims to be carbon neutral as a nation by 2021. A series incentives have been introduced to achieve this goal. As more land is reforested and preserved, development land will become scarcer and will increase in price

7 More Reasons to Invest In Costa Rica

Costa Rica, has been described by CNBC as “the hottest real estate market on the face of the planet” and Costa Rica Invest lists 15 reasons for investors to consider investing in Costa Rica.

8 Good Reasons to Invest In Costa Rica

Costa Rica, has been described by CNBC as “the hottest real estate market on the face of the planet” and Costa Rica Invest lists 15 reasons for investors to consider investing in Costa Rica.

Early Investors Receive An Unexpected "windfall"

Early investors in a unique teak and development land project received an unexpected “windfall”. The first the thinning of the teak on Finca Di Pacifico Dos has generated a greater than expected return of $86,684

Costa Rica Invest announces that the land registration process is on track to commence in March 2009

Costa Rica Invest announces that the process of preparing for Cadastral registration of the land plots in Finca Di Pacifico Dos is on time to commence registration of the individual land plots in March 2009.

73.6% of Finca Di Pacifico Dos, a unique investment in teak and development land, is now sold

Costa Rica Invest announces that 73.6% of Finca Di Pacifico Dos is now sold. This is an absolutely unique opportunity to invest in development land in Costa Rica with the added advantage and security of teak.

Second Funding Round for Di Pacifico Dos Ltd.

After a fully subscribed first round, Costa Rica Invest announces a second round of fundraising for Di Pacifico Dos Ltd. which is structured for self administered pension fund investments in Ireland.

Costa Rica Invest announces alliance partnership with Peter Quealy, IFG Mortgages Dungarvan, Ireland

Costa Rica Invest today announced a successful launch of their alliance partnership with Peter Quealy of IFG Mortgages Dungarvan. Together they held a successful presentation to Peter’s clients on Thursday the 6th of November.

The Trees are Growing – The Time is Now: 14 year old teak plots sold out already

Diversify. Diversify. Diversify. Smart investors saw the opportunity. They invested in Di Pacifico Dos in Costa Rica at an early stage and have bought all the plots with the oldest teak trees. They are now watching their investment grow. The race is on!

Rainforests - Our Natural Drugs and Medicines Storehouse

Rainforests have evolved over millions of years to become the incredibly complex inter woven environments they are today. They represent a store of living and breathing renewable natural resources that for eons, by virtue of their richness in both animal and plant species, have contributed a wealth of resources for the survival and well-being of humankind. These resources have included basic food supplies, clothing, shelter, fuel, spices, industrial raw materials, but the most indispensable treasure contained in rainforests is medicine.

A typical case in point is Vincristine, which is extracted from the rainforest plant, periwinkle. Vincristine is one of the world's most powerful anticancer drugs. It has dramatically increased the survival rate for acute childhood leukemia since its discovery.

But scientists are racing against time to find and identify plant-based medicines. Look at the following figures: The National Cancer Institute has now identified over 3,000 plants that help fight cancer cells and many of them come from rainforests. 70% of these plants are found in the rainforest. Of the 121 drugs that have been produced from plants found in the rainforest today, 74% of them were found during research on the plant's medicinal properties.

In 1983, there were no U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers involved in research programs to discover new drugs or cures from plants. Today, over 100 pharmaceutical companies and several branches of the US government, including giants like Merck and The National Cancer Institute, are engaged in plant research projects for possible drugs and cures for viruses, infections, cancer, and even AIDS. These companies are working with tribal healers to learn the wealth of their knowledge. Amazonian Indians are often the only ones who know both properties of the plants and know how they can best be used. Their knowledge is very important and is helpful in the conservation of the rainforest.

Amongst those companies, the Amazon Herb Company has already set a good example, the company partners with indigenous Rainforest communities to ecologically harvest herbs in order to provide an ongoing stream of revenue for the indigenous community. The communities harvest the herbs, as they have done for centuries, the Amazon Herb Company markets the herbs and sends a portion of the profit back to the communities to help them gain legal title to their land and to have resources to make new choices about their own future.

Despite these success stories, less than one percent of the plants in the world’s tropical rainforests have even been tested for their medicinal properties. Environmentalists and health care advocates alike are keen to protect the world’s remaining rainforests as storehouses for the medicines of the future.

But saving tropical rainforests is no easy task, as poverty-stricken native people try to eke out a living off the lands and many governments throughout the world’s equatorial regions, out of economic desperation as well as greed, allow destructive cattle ranching, farming and logging. As rainforest turns to farm, ranch and clear-cut, some 137 rainforest-dwelling species—plants and animals alike—go extinct every single day, according to noted Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson. Conservationists worry that as rainforest species disappear, so will many possible cures for life-threatening diseases.

Although rainforests do provide a perfect natural storehouse of drugs and medicines prodigious efforts are required in order to further explore the medical value of the rainforest plants.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sloth - a profile of one of the gentlest jungle mammals

The sloth is one of the more unusual animals in the Costa Rica rainforest, and it is encountered frequently by those inspired to adventure on the most rural Costa Rica ecotourism excursions.

Two species of sloth can be seen in Costa Rica– the three-toed (Bradypus variegatus) and the two-toed (Choloepus hoffmanni). Sloths, whose diet consists primarily of leaves, live up to their name, sometimes remaining for days in the same tree and crawling slowly through the canopy when on the move.

Normally found sleeping in tree tops during the day, sloths are most active from dusk till dawn. They sleep an average of eighteen hours a day, so it is most common to see them as unmoving furry balls tucked into the crooks of tree branches. Sometimes while relaxing the day away, they hang upside down and scratch, then slowly return to their slightly more upright position to resume their nap.

These quiet jungle mammals are well camouflaged, stealthy and usually very still, so they can be hard to spot without the asssitance of the trained eyes of a naturalist guide. Like cows and sheep, they have "several stomachs" where the long process of digesting all that greenery can take place. Even so, there is not much energy to be had from their vegetarian diet, so the sloth doesn’t waste any. Their movements are slow, very slow, and of course, and they like nothing better than sunbathing, especially in the morning, to warm their tummies and help speed their digestion.

They are highly adapted to living in the treetops by being quite light for their size and having a tenacious grip In the wild the Sloths coats “play host to an entire ecosystem” - they often sport a greenish coat of algae on their grayish brown fur (thought to be a camouflage adaptation made possible by the physical structure of sloth hair), which harbors a number of moth and beetle species.

They are as important as any other creature to the ecosystem of the rain forest and are beautiful, sensitive, loving creatures that do not carry or pass diseases. These animals live only between 15° north and south of the equator in the rainforest canopies of the Americas. They also are amazingly resilient creatures, surviving falls of over 90 feet and by having the ability to recover from the most serious of wounds.

What tourists find to be unusual, adorable creatures, some locals — who call them "osos perezosos," or lazy bears — have been known to treat like pests.

Luckily for these friendly creatures Costa Rica has a sloth sanctuary. This sanctuary has successfully reared over 100 orpahned sloths and in addition to rehabilitation of orphaned or injured sloths, the rescue center seeks to prevent sloth abuse through education programs, including one with financial backing from the fruit company Dole, which buses in the children of its field workers for sloth classes at the center.
You can help the sloth sanctuary directly through the "adopt a sloth" program.

Be sure to keep an eye out for a sloth on your next Costa Rica ecotourism trip and of course you can visit the Sloth Sanctuary!

You can read an article by Alex Leff on the GlobalPost on his visit to the Sloth sanctuary

You can see some great colourful photos from the i reporters at CNN on the CNN website here

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Airlines Reduce Carbon Emissions

Reuters reports that, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that it would achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020 through a combination of investment in technology, biofuels and economic measures such as carbon trading. Airlines also project that carbon trading will cost the industry about $7 billion from 2020, based on a carbon price of $65 a metric ton in 2020.

Some US airlines have reduced their flights in response to plummeting demand for travel and freight, and carriers in Asia and Europe are likely to make similar scheduling cuts to allay their operating costs, according to IATA, which estimates the airline industry will lose $9 billion this year.

In the United States, Northwest Airlines has excluded spoons from its cutlery pack if the in-flight meal does not require one."When you are talking about a jumbo jet with 400 people on board, being served two to three meals, this can save a few kilos," he said. American Airlines said fuel-saving measures have helped it save more than 110 million gallons of fuel annually and reduced its carbon emissions by 2.3 billion pounds in 2008. It aims to save 120 million gallons of fuel and reduce carbon emissions by 2.5 billion pounds in 2009.

Another carrier, JAL of Japan, took everything it loaded from a 747 and put it on the floor of a school gym to see what it really needed. As a result it shaved a fraction of a centimetre off all its cutlery to cut weight. Other carriers have come up with all sorts of ingenious initiatives to shift the flab off their aircraft. In-flight magazines are going and carriers are even putting their duty-free catalogues onto the seat-back televisions. Catering trolleys are becoming lighter and less water - both bottled and in the tank - is being loaded.

The next generation of aircraft seats is likely to be up to 30 per cent lighter than the current generation, with composite replacing aluminium. Reinforced carbon fibre is used for the shields for the in-flight televisions, cutting the weight by as much as half. At the same time the industry is looking to step up the use of alternative carbon-free bio-fuels, which should account for up to six per cent of the industry total by 2020.

A number of carriers, including Virgin Atlantic, Continental and Air New Zealand, have carried out trials of alternative fuels.

Up to 100 European airports are also preparing to change their standards on planes landing procedures, shifting to a "continuous descent approach", or CDA, that makes for a smoother descent and cuts carbon emissions by 160 kg to 470 kg per flight.
These plans add to the financial crisis currently faced by the airlines industry. IATA, representing 230 airlines, estimates a $9 billion loss for the airline industry in 2009 on top of a revised loss of $10.4 billion in 2008, reports Space Daily. The organization also said that the industry spent $165 billion on fuel in 2008, representing 31 percent of costs.

IATA also restated the industry’s previous environmental goals to cut absolute emissions by 50 percent by 2050, and improve average fuel efficiency 1.5 percent annually between now and 2020. Airlines will reduce their carbon emissions by nearly 8 percent this year as they slash the number of flights they operate in line with a drop in cargo and passenger demand, and about 6 percent of the forecast carbon cut will come as a result of carriers flying fewer planes in 2009, and a further 1.8 percent reflects steps to improve energy efficiency, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.
To calculate your own carbon count (how much carbon you use per year) click here
To read more about bio fuels trials in aircraft, click here

Sunday, June 14, 2009

See new video of Finca Di Pacifico Dos

Below you can see a new documentary about the unique opportunity in Finca Di Pacifico Dos.

Prepared by our Polish Office this documentary was broadcast on Polish National television.

It includes interviews with the Minister of Tourism in Costa Rica, Government Officials in Costa Rica, Financial Analysts, Bankers, Real Estate Agents, the teak maintenance company, and Jos Van Veen the developer.

Of course if you would like to talk to one of our consultant about this opportunity, get up to date availability listings or need any further details just contact our office - Ireland +353 1 272 4184, USA +1 210 775 6318, or talk to our consultants live on line here

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Arenal Volcano and Arenal National Park

A volcano is like a candle, one year the lava drips on one side, the next year it drips on the other.

The 12,016-hectare Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal lies within the 204,000-hectare Arenal Conservation Area, protecting eight of Costa Rica's 12 life zones and 16 protected reserves in the region between the Guanacaste and Tilarán mountain ranges, and including Lake Arenal.

The park has two volcanoes: Chato, whose collapsed crater contains an emerald lagoon surrounded by forest, and the perfectly conical Arenal and it is most directly accessed from La Fortuna, but is also easily accessed via Tilarán and the north shore of Lake Arenal.

Arenal Volcano has been constantly active since it woke up after 400 years in 1968, changing the area forever. One of the world's most active volcanos; Arenal produces huge ash columns, explosions and glowing red lava almost every day. A visit this Costa Rica is not complete without a stop at spectacular Arenal Volcano.

However, that it is often covered in clouds and getting to see an eruption is a matter of luck (the dawn hours are best, before the clouds roll in; seasonally, you stand a reasonable chance in dry season and less than favorable odds in rainy season).

Lava eruptions have been known to travel down the slopes of Arenal at over 65 miles per hour and can reach temperatures of over 1000 degrees Celsius. This lava makes this area a prime location for thermal springs and all of the delightful spa activities that accompany them, as well as creating the paths for world class waterfalls, such as the La Fortuna Waterfall that flows along an ancient volcanic flow. A plethora of trails exist all over the Arenal Volcano National Park and there are many tours and activities available to visitors.

Fascinating fauna and flora exist here in amazing quantities making this a prime location for viewing many many different species of both plants and animals. Among the principal fauna species are: pacas, deers, tapir, coatis, sloths, howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, snakes and birds like quetzal, bellbird, and hummingbird. There are also over 850 identified birds that reside in the Arenal area.

The last major eruption of Mount Arenal Volcano was on the 29 July 1968, when it was awakened from its long sleep by a fateful earthquake. The massive explosion that resulted wiped out the villages of Tabacón and Pueblo Nuevo, whose entire populations perished. The area was declared as a National Park in 1994.

A must see for every Costa Rican tourist, Arenal now boasts one active and one dormant crater as well as an enormous man-made lake that has become world famous for both it’s exceptional wind-surfing and it’s amazing sport fishing.

There are many ways to enjoy the area surrounding the Arenal Volcano with tours for those who want to hike or to horseback ride.

The Arenal Volcano is one of the "Must-See" locations in Costa Rica, being that it is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Although you may see many daily eruptions, the national park surrounded the Arenal keeps you at a safe distance, where most hotels take advantage of their ringside views.

To see an article by Frank Scott, detailing his recent trip to the Arenal Volcano, click here
Costa Rica Learn also recomends a trip to Arenal in the article - 8 days in Costa Rica, where should I go.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cocos Islands Costa Rica

One thing for sure, once you know the history and have visited this island, you’ll get hooked on it for a lifetime. It’s called -The Cocos Syndrome!

It’s a source of debate as to who discovered Cocos Island with some reports citing Johan Cabaces and some citing Juan Cabezas De Grado. But no matter who first discovered it they discovered one of the most beautiful islands on the planet.

Cocos Island, 24 sq. kilometers in size is a typical tropical island with two bays in the north, Wafer Bay and Chatham Bay which are divided by a ridge. The latter is a safe harbor. The rest of the coastline is very steep with over 200 waterfalls, some of them over 200 feet high. In the southwest of the island are the highest point, called mount "Iglesias" is 575 feetin elevation. The Climate is hot and humid - very humid. It rains almost every day for a couple of hours between March and December.

Jacques Cousteau said 13 years ago that Cocos Island was “. . . the most beautiful island in the world."

Cocos Island was a refuge for pirates who supposedly hid treasures here and it is strongly believed in many quarters that treasure is still buried on Cocos Island. It is told, that the richest treasure in the world is still buried on Cocos Island, not only one, but two major loads.

The first belonged to a pirate named Benito Bonito who sailed the "Relampago," raiding every city along the pacific coast line.

The second and biggest treasure was brought to Cocos by Captain Thompson in 1821. In an attempt by the Spaniards to hide the wealth of Lima from Simon Bolivar and his troops, Limas Governor and the clergy entrusted the treasure to Thompson and his ship "Mary Dear" who in return killed the guards and sailed off to Cocos Island.

There is even a third load, belonging to Edward Davis, Captain of John Cook's ship, the "Bachelor Delight" who buried his loot there in the late 1600's.

Treasure hunters have flocked to Cocos Island in search of "easy riches"and some of the most famous names of Cocos Treasure hunters are Sir Malcolm Campbell the speed record holder, Julius Fleischman the yeast king, James A. Forbes from California and even US-President Roosevelt who allowed his crew on a fishing trip to go searching for the treasure.

None of them where lucky enough to locate the treasure trove.

The Cocos Island is the largest uninhabited island in the world, it's remote, wild and excellent diving location. Its nearest neighbors are the Galapagos Islands to the South. Cocos is located 300+ miles south-southwest of Costa Rica, accessible only by boat.

The area is a diving paradise with some of the richest and most diverse marine life in the world. Only Costa Rican park rangers are allowed to stay on the island and PADI the diving organization ranked Cocos Island Costa Rica as the top diving location in the world. Diving there you are likely to see hordes of hammerhead sharks and dense populations of pelagic and reef fish, turtles, many types of eels, starfish and even a rare frogfish. Here, on Cocos, the fish population has been allowed to grow in harmony with the natural balance of the food chain, which is explains this incredible diversity and quantity of sea life. It's probably the best place in the world to go diving with sharks.

But the diving on Cocos Islands is not all it has to offer. The Flora and Fauna on the island are incredibly diverse and the island itself is incredibly beautiful with in excess of 200 waterfalls.

Cocos Island National Park has reached the final selection for the new seven natural wonders of the world in the islands category.

With access only by boat, its not easy to get to Cocos islands, but when you get there a treasure trove of biodiversity and natural beauty awaits (and maybe if you're very lucky a treasure of gold and diamonds!). You are welcomed here anytime!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Costa Rican Coffee

Costa Rican coffee has set the standards for fine wet-processed coffee for the rest of Central and South America.

The words that used to be leveled at the coffees from Costa Rica - too balanced too clean, too mild but we categorize this type of coffee as the "classic cup," the traditional balanced coffee that has no defects or taints. Coffee cuppers call it "clean" and that's not the same as "boring."

Each year the new crop starts with the first rains in May which trigger a spectacular burst of sweet frequent flowers that cover the coffee fields like snow. The fruit ripens slowly under the warm tropical sun and the harvest season starts in November and continues through March. Most of Costa Rica's coffee is grown on small family farms where the whole family works long hours to hand pick the ripe cherries and deliver them to the coffee mills each evening.

At the coffee mills (Beneficios) the coffee goes through an extensive process that includes mechanically removing the outer fruit, and cleaning off the sticky film (Parchment) surrounds the beans.

The coffee is fermented, and then washed and either dried under the sun or slow dried in large heated dryers for about twenty hours until the internal humidity reaches about 11%.

The outer parchment is then removed mechanically before the coffee is then sorted and graded by size, weight and even color. Finally the finished green coffee is bagged to be delivered to coffee merchants or coffee roasters.

During roasting the colour of the coffe bean changes as the sucrose sugars caramelize.

Although many people assume the opposite in fact, lighter roast coffees have more caffeine than darker roast coffees because the longer the coffee is roasted the higher the temperatures which reduces the caffeine by about 15 to 20%. Darker roast coffees have stronger flavors & their beans have an oily finish due to the extrusion of the natural fatty oils in the coffee.

In coffee terms acidity does not correlate to the PH level but is akin to the dry but bright sensation experienced on the back sides of your tongue while drinking a red wine. Acidity has been correlated with coffees grown at very high altitudes and in mineral rich volcanic soils throughout Central America.

Now everything is changing in Costa Rica, and the big farms and big powerful cooperative mills, have a reason to do a double-take. There is a new quality initiative coming from the Micro-Mills, tiny low-volume farm-specific coffee producers who now keep their lots separate, mill it themselves, gaining total control of the process, and tuning it to yield the best possible flavors (and achieving the best prices!)

This revolution is possible due to new environmentally friendly small milling equipment.

No longer do the small producers see their carefully grown and harvested coffee purchased buy large dealers and mixed with lower grade lower quality coffes, with an independent Micro-Mill, a farmer can become a true "coffee craftsperson," maximize the cup quality of their coffee, dividing lots by elevation or cultivar, and receiving the highest prices for their Micro-Lot coffees. In turn, we get unique and diverse Micro-Lots, and a transparent, long-term relationship with the small farmer.

The Cup Of Excellence Awards is a strict competition that selects the very best coffee produced in member countries for a particular year, to see the best producers in Costa Rica for 2009, just click here (results released on June 11th 2009)

Welcome to Costa Rica, coffee and beaches are waiting for you!!!

Peter Zhang June 2009