Coffee from Costa Rica just received a self-identity seal that sets it apart from ordinary coffee, as it lifts it to the category of “prestige” coffee. The seal, in the form of a geographic identity, will certify that the coffee was grown in Costa Rica and contains no beans from other regions. This new status was compared to the descriptions of wine that identify certain ones as from designated provinces. The trademark, awarded a week ago by the CR Ministry of Agriculture, designates that the air, climate and soil of Costa Rica produce particular qualities unique to the region. The designation is placed on other produce as well, such as bananas. Crops grown in Costa Rica share unique qualities that set them apart, according to this labeling. According to writer Rod Hughes, the sophistication of US coffee drinkers has risen remarkably from the days of the “one size fits all approach” exemplified by brands such as Maxwell House, Chase & Sanborn and others. He also gives credit to new brewing methods as contributing to the sophistication rise, which he says has created a demand for high mountain coffees from Colombia and Costa Rica – think third wave. The best brewing method, he states, for brewing “gourmet coffee”, is the European way: • Place the coffee grounds in a bowl or any container with a wide mouth; • Boil water separately; • Pour the hot water into the grounds; • Stir gently to make sure every particle gets wet; • Pour the bowl contents through a filter. Note: Paper filters are acceptable to all but the most finicky European and Costa Rican coffee drinkers, who swear by the cloth filter. Hughes suggests for the most superb Costa Rican coffee, try a boutique one or a geographical one such as a Tarrazu.