Logo Icafe

The Costa Rica Coffee Institute (ICAFE)

ICAFE is a public, non-governmental institution that was established in 1933 to promote the national coffee growing activity. By enforcing Law # 2762, ICAFE:

  • Promotes an ethical and unique production model for national Coffee Growers, Millers, Roasters and Exporters.
  • Supports national coffee production and milling, as well as national and international coffee marketing.
  • Promote national and international consumption of Costa Rican coffee.
  • Research and develops farming and industrial technology.
  • Sets a fair and ethical minimum price for Costa Rican coffee. Liquidation payment (also approved by Law 2762).

How does it work?


Protecting the Coffee Producer under a unique model

(ICAFE, Costa Rican Law No 2762)

During the harvest, the Producer receives an advance payment upon delivering the cherry to the Mill.

Throughout the year, the Mill sells the coffee with prices fixed in reference to the New York Stock Exchange, plus a differential.

The Mills make trimestral payments to the Producer. These payments are defined by ICAFE according to each Mill's sales.

At the end of the Coffee Year, the Mills pay the Producers a final Liquidation, a defenitive amount resulting from the total sales minus each mill's expenses and profits. This amount and its calculation are defined exclusively by ICAFE, wich supervices all stages of the bean's commercialization.



One area that Café de Costa Rica pays special attention to is coffee traceability, so that international buyers can be sure they are receiving the product for which they are paying.  The staff of the ICAFE Operational Inspection Unit is highly qualified and very experienced supervising and controlling export coffee from the Central Valley, where most of the exports originate, as well as from other coffee-growing regions.

Inspection Process
The first step is for interested exporters to fill out an application form providing information such as product location, time, information for the International Coffee Organization (ICO), export permit number and number of bags.

Once the exporter submits this application form, developed by the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promotion Corporation (PROCOMER), and with the approval of the ICAFE Settlement Unit, the Inspector has the information necessary to proceed to verify the product.

Based on the information included in the PROCOMER form, ICAFE inspectors verify the number of kilos and bags, brand, port of departure and destination. They also make sure the containers are in optimal conditions to transport the product to its destination. If everything is in order, the coffee will be loaded.

Inspection Reports and Traceability Sampling
Inspection Reports include the name of the exporting company, loading site, export permit, kilos per bag, number of bags and net weight, destination, carrier, port of departure, type of shipment, container data, weight, container security stamp number, brand, and inspection start and finish time.  Inspectors take two coffee samples per container: a first sample (1000 grams) is used to analyze humidity, defects, grain size and density; and a 600-gram sample is sent to the Quality Control Unit of the Coffee Research Center (CICAFE), where it is kept for several months if any exporter or buyer complaint should arise.

The report is signed by the ICAFE inspector and by the person in charge of the coffee warehouse.  A copy of the report is kept at the warehouse as evidence of conformity and shipment.

Once the coffee is loaded, the container is weighed again and a security stamp is placed on the container door to prevent tampering from origin to destination.  Once the coffee is loaded, the corresponding information is submitted to the ICO.  This ends the ICAFE inspection process, guaranteeing coffee traceability.