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HomeTopicsArts and CultureVisiting a Costa Rica Coffee Plantation

Visiting a Costa Rica Coffee Plantation

When visiting a new country, it is always interesting to learn about its culture, history, and what makes a destination unique to give you an appreciation of where you are traveling. While in Costa Rica, visiting a coffee plantation is one of the best ways to discover the essence of the country and the heart of its people.

Coffee plays a vital role in Costa Rica in many different aspects, most importantly one of the top exports in the country playing a key role in its economy. It is a tradition ingrained in the home through generations as a morning staple with your gallo pinto or a daily ritual bringing people together for an afternoon break of rest and socializing.

Coffee and Costa Rica

Costa Rica takes pride in its infamous coffee and there are many great coffee tours across the country that are interactive giving you an in-depth and hands-on experience taking you through the entire process. They are suitable for all ages in the family as there is so much to see and interact with creating a day full of fun and a family-friendly experience. Tours will often start from the very beginning so you can thoroughly understand the real journey that the coffee bean must take before it can become the star of your mornings.

The history of coffee will be discussed with its origins into the country in the late 1700s and the special role it plays in society to date. The industry’s evolution helped to build the country’s economy, modernizing and upgrading infrastructures throughout. At the same time creating a society of varying socio-economic statuses between the populations with the influence of wealth.

Coffee farms created great economic development and success and continues to influence the country today. To hear about the power such a small item can have and the rich history and impact it has had on an entire country will leave you with a deeper knowledge and respect.

From Seed to Cup

Starting with its life as a seedling you will learn what it takes to successfully grow and nurture the bean for it to flourish during its lifespan in the rich fields of Costa Rica. With lands originating from the volcanic soils combined with the climates of cooler temperatures and the country’s rains it is a perfect recipe for success. A Costa Rican coffee plantation tour gives you the chance to see this firsthand witnessing the country’s beautiful countryside as you explore the sprawling grounds walking amongst the rich greenery.

You can expect to understand more about why Costa Rica produces some of the best coffee in the world. It is actually illegal in Costa Rica to produce anything other than 100 % Arabica coffee beans. The country takes pride in their crop and produces this high-quality bean, creating a smooth flavor profile admired worldwide.

The nursery is where it all starts and the seedlings begin their journey before becoming your hot cup of brew. As you continue on through the cycle you head into the fields of the plantation where you will get to see the cherries of the coffee plant, the red coffee cherries, and learn what to look for knowing when they are ready for harvest.

You will be surprised they don’t look like what you see in the stores, that first these red cherries must be picked from the plant in order to harvest them. Find out if you have the expert eyes to know which mature red berries are ready to be picked. You may even get a chance to harvest some coffee cherries yourself depending on the region and time of year you go.

Walking through the coffee plantation allows you to connect with the farm grounds as they tell the personal story of the plantation, sensing the passion behind their words. Discover the history and traditions unique to the location and the evolution of the production process using the country’s traditional oxcarts. Every coffee plantation comes with its own saga and tales, rich history, struggles, and successes, that you will feel a bond and connection with the place you tour as your day progresses.

The guided tour leads you into the heart of the of the coffee plantation where you can find out how the magic happens. Here you will find out how the red coffee cherries are processed to become the beautiful brown coffee bean. They must be measured and carefully selected by the trained eye.

Witness how they are washed and the pulp is removed. The process continues as they must be completely dried before they are roasted. The roastery rooms are hypnotizing in the aromas as you can watch them process into the last step of the exciting transformation then off to packaging.

Sampling Coffee

Chorreador coffee maker
Alejandro Zúñiga / The Tico Times

Finally, it is time for some sampling and learning the techniques of the professionals at cupping becoming your own expert. Discover the aromas and flavors of the fresh coffee through the demonstrations and hands-on tasting sessions. Costa Rican traditional coffee is made in a unique method creating a rich flavor with chorreadors.

It may look a bit interesting at first but as you hear how it is brewed you will definitely want to try it. The coffee maker is made up of a wooden stand and the coffee filter is actually a cloth filter that looks like a sock, however, the flavor is rich and delicious. You will understand why it has been the traditional way for years and a favorite brewing method in the country, you may even want to bring one home for yourself.

A guided tour of a coffee plantation has you rediscovering what your cup of java is really all about. Tracing its journey through history and walking through the steps it must take before becoming part of your early morning routine creates a new relationship with your beloved café. Most of all it gives you a chance to learn about the culture of Costa Rica, stepping into a tradition of its people and country.

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