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I’ve just arrived in Costa Rica and already know I’m going to fall in love with this place, which is why I just HAVE to share it with you right away. A common phrase here is ‘pura vida’ meaning ‘pure life’ and I already feel live I’m living more ‘in the moment’ than I have in years. I’m on a trip with the folks from Minube along with 2 other bloggers- Iain from Mallory on Travel and Camille from This American Girl and already it feels like one big family. We’ll be spending a week discovering the beautiful scenery of Costa Rica and generally getting in touch with nature.
Don Juan Coffee Tour
This morning we experienced the Don Juan coffee tour and our guide was one of the funniest guides I’ve ever had. We got up at the crack of dawn to begin our drive from Aloft Hotel in San Jose and stopped for a very local breakfast consisting of gallo pinto (rice and beans), plantains and eggs with tomato, cilantro and chilli. All this food was washed down with a drink called ‘chan’ which basically looks a bit like frog spawn but tastes absolutely delicious. I can’t stop thinking about how delicious the food tasted and will be dining on this every day till the end of my trip.
From there we drove uphill to Monteverde along windy roads past some of the most lush scenery I’ve ever seen (they really do need to invent another word for the shade of green seen in Costa Rica!) When we arrived at the Don Juan coffee plantation we were greeted by the owner- Don Juan himself- who has 9 children and 20-something grand children. He’s a legend and was very patient when we insisted on taking a gazillion pictures of him! Outside a group of tourists were about to take a ride on a traditional oxcart to experience the way the family’s ancestors used to travel.
The tour itself is really very interesting if you want to learn the traditional processes involved in making coffee and our guide Junior was quite the comedian. He began by taking us to the nursery, explaining the life cycle of the coffee plant and the ways that the coffee cherries are picked.
From there he led us to the de-pulping machine to see how the pulp of the coffee cherry was traditionally removed. He also demonstrated the washing process of the mucilage that is found underneath the pulp and the separation of the first class coffee beans from the rest. In the drying patio we saw how the coffee beans are spread out onto a large cement patio in order to dry naturally under the sun, and even had a go at it ourselves.
Our last stop was the warehouse and the coffee roaster, where the selection of the coffee beans, the roasting process and the final packaging of the Don Juan coffee is carried out. We also got to have a go at making some chocolate and I was responsible for grinding the cocoa into a fine powder.
To finish off we got to try a cup of their quality coffee overlooking the most amazing view of the lush, green landscape of Costa Rica. An amazing way to start the trip!