It is Saturday, and we have booked a coffee tour with Jorge from our school. Jorge takes us to Britt near Heredia.
Britt offers a didactical tour to demonstrate the history, plantation and production of coffee. It is a tour with stops in a marvellous, shady garden. There are samples and panels explaining it all.
Origin of the coffee
Originally the coffee beans come from Ethopia… it seems that goats liked them. Via Saudi-Arabia and Europe they traveled to Brasil and then to Costa Rica.
Why coffee in Costa Rica and where?
It is the combination of altitude above sea level, rain, volcanic soil and acidity of the terrain that is excellent for the coffee plant. Costa Rica only grows the Arabica plant.
There are several regions that grow coffee, for instance in the central valley around San José or more to the south near Carthago and the Chirripo volcan. The coffee beans from the various regions can be blended or sold as coffee originating from one region.
Growing a coffee plant
A coffee plant bears fruit for about 20 years. The red fruit is being harvested from December to February/March. The harvesters are paid by bucket harvested. 11kg of beans give 1 kg of coffee.
The cleaning and roasting process
Each seed contains two coffee beans that have to be uncovered in a multistage process. Then the beans are sun dried and roasted from 7 to 16 minutes, or from light brown to dark brown. Professional testers perform the quality control, using similar techniques and words like I know from wine tasting. The lady guiding through the tour with a lot of humour illustrates all this in a show at the end. We can taste the different coffees, but for us it is difficult to sense the difference. We just think that the coffee we get in Costa Rica has a very balanced taste.
The gorgeous Britt garden
The Britt show has given a good overview of the process of growing coffee… but now I should take Ursula to a real coffee plantation like the one of former Los Peters in Sarchi.
The Britt garden is gorgeous. To complete our visit, we walk through it, enjoy it and take some fotos.