Beautiful Art And Tough Times At Costa Rica’s Biggest Coffee Event | Coffee News |

The gleaming tile floors and stout white columns gave a fittingly grand backdrop. Here at the Marriott Los Sueños, on the Playa Herradura in Costa Rica, finalists are being announced at the 27th annual Grano de Oro Art Contest. A dress constructed partially of coffee bags takes center stage, winner of that weekend’s “Ecological Fashion Show”. Welcome to Sintercafé, an annual convention put on since 1987 by a non-profit organization to promote coffee grown in Costa Rica.

“Grano de Oro” means literally means “grain of gold” or the golden bean. This distinctly Costa Rican reference to finding wealth through growing coffee harkens back to the fact that many in the country made their fortune in agriculture not mining. The disappointed conquistadores found few mineral deposits here, and those who stayed used the land as cattle ranches, to grow cacao and eventually the red and yellow coffee cherries that form the color palette across a broad swath of mixed media, including painters and photographers. Each year, artists submit pieces showcasing the “golden bean” in all its various aspects to the competition, and a jury of art experts selects the winners.