Costa Rica Coffee Tour

In January,  Missy Yunks vacationed in Costa Rica.  She ate a lot of rice and beans and fresh fruit and drank a lot of coffee.  She also saw a gorgeous waterfall, zip lined over trees with a volcano in the background, hiked a crater, and relaxed in hot springs – but you’re more interested in the food, right?

My Costa Rica tour began in Monteverde, the cloud forest, and my first full day began at El Trapiche. El Trapiche is a family owned farm that grows coffee beans and sugar cane.  We saw the whole process of how coffee is made and how sugar is made.

The family has some coffee beans growing in this special box so visitors can see the plants up close.  I learned that coffee beans really look like this:

The bean actually has seven layers.  Half of the layers are peeled off and the coffee beans are set to dry out.

Once the beans are dry, they pass through two machines to peel off more layers and sort the beans.  Some beans look like peanuts with two halves attached together, and some beans are smaller and round.  The smaller round beans sell for more money because they’re richer in flavor.

The actual bean is really small.  During the roasting process, air gets puffed into the bean and they expand.

Quiz time! Which beans contain more caffeine? Dark roast or light roast?

Think about it while you check out the view from the farm.

If you guessed dark roast, you’re wrong.  Light roast beans have more caffeine.  The caffeine is in oils that get burned off during roasting.

After we saw the coffee bean process, we saw the sugar cane process.  A farm that produces coffee and sugar sounds like a great combination to me.  If only it was a dairy farm too!  We tasted fresh sugar cane chopped right out of the ground.  Sugar cane is 50% water and 50% sugar.  Sucking on it tastes like eating liquid sugar.  To get the sugar out, the sugar cane gets pressed by a machine.  A long time ago, ox used to power the machine.

They walk in a circle and a lever presses the sugar cane.  We could see liquid dripping out of the cane.  Later, they learned this machine is inefficient and now use an electronic machine to press the sugar cane.  When we saw this machine, so much liquid poured out of the cane that the cane was completely dry after it went through the machine.

Next, we saw where they heat the sugar and pour it into molds to make brown sugar.  We also had the opportunity to play with some sugar and make taffy.

At the end of the tour, we tasted coffee and a special Costa Rican dish.  Arracache is a plant that grows in Costa Rica.  Cooked Arracache is a special dish usually only served at special occasions, like weddings, because it takes a long time to prepare.  We were so lucky to taste this dish.  The savory vegetable is mixed with meat and served on a corn tortilla.  It can also be prepared vegetarian and our tour guide admitted that the vegetarian version tastes better than the meat!  BF agreed when he tasted both.

This small bite made it into “The Best Things I Ever Ate” list.  I won’t say it paired well with hot coffee, but the coffee was also really good.

They were a few coffee tours available in Monteverde and I’m so glad that we picked El Trapiche.  The family owned farm made the experience feel special and it was really interesting learning all about coffee and sugar cane.  If you ever travel to Costa Rica and want to go on a coffee tour, I recommend this one!

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