Brewing Coffee with a Chorreador
Costa Rica is known as the coffee capital of Latin America. In the five plus years that I've lived here, I've sampled dozens of varieties and can heartily confirm this well-deserved reputation for rich java. For a traditional taste of this local delicacy, try using a chorreador: Costa Rica's simple method for making coffee. This old-fashioned system yields strong flavor without the hassle of paper filters.
The flavor of coffee made with a chorreador is quite unlike coffee brewed in a typical coffee maker. The small cotton bag, or "coffee sock" that is used as a filter is simply washed with water between uses. This lingering residue creates a more robust cup of coffee. Chorreadors can be found all over the country, and are popular souvenirs in gift shops. A simple version can be purchased at your local market for around $4, while more decorative chorreadors made of precious wood--like the one pictured--sell for $20 and up.
Making coffee with a chorreador is simple:
1. Place the filter, or coffee sock, on the wooden stand and put your mug underneath.
2. Fill the chorreador filter with coffee grounds and boil the desired amount of water. Usually, one tablespoon of ground coffee is enough for each cup of coffee. Increase this ratio if you prefer an extra bold cup.
3. Slowly pour the boiling water through the chorreador filter and wait for the coffee to drip into your mug.
4. For really strong java, pour the coffee back through the chorreador a second time.