(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)
In my travels, I have toured coffee plantations but the Golden Bean Coffee Tour and Plantation is different! The owner Jorge Cutie provides a sensory experience. “Not only do visitors see the seedlings growing, but they can learn about coffee’s different stages from harvesting to its processing at the mill where we transform the sorted coffee beans.
Our interactive tour gives everyone the opportunity to use their sense of touch, taste, and smell. To smell the aroma, touch the beans, and taste the different types of coffee. They gain a better understanding by participating during the tour.” First our guide brought us to see the coffee pickers in the field. They wore a large basket attached around their waist. The guide explained, “The seedlings are hand-picked on steep slopes so the pickers have their coffee basket attached to them with their hands free to pick the coffee and, if necessary, to be able to grab onto a branch and climb up or down hills. This is hard work because the baskets get heavy after they are filled with coffee beans weighing around 25-30 pounds.
It takes a full year before the coffee beans are ripe and ready to be picked. After picking, there is an additional two months before we can prepare them for roasting. We process the beans for 48 hours and need to let them rest in our wood silos for at least two months.”Later we toured the coffee factory. Most people would not believe everything it takes to produce a fine cup of coffee.
After the tour, we joined an international coffee expert for their interactive-coffee-session. It was exciting to taste all of the different types of coffee, coffee liquors, and coffee chocolate. There are several varieties including chocolate beans, chocolate covered espresso beans, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate with a dark roasted pea berry inside. They even have a wide variety of unusual gifts made with coffee and its components- paper, envelopes, pencils, crayons, and even coffee scented jewelry.Jorge explained, “My family owns 400 acres, and our partner 2,000 acres. We produce the Hacienda Real brand of coffee which we roast and distribute in Costa Rica and internationally. Our business is integrated from the farm to the mill to roasting. We want to stay green, to stay sustainable, and to show you the REAL Costa Rica. Come to Turialba, you will be impressed. It is one of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets. We haven’t become a touristy destination and are planning on keeping it that way.” Turrialba is only 1-1/2 hours from San Jose and what a difference! Visit the Golden Bean Plantation and take the tour. For information, see their website: www.goldenbean.net
Cultural, Adventure, and Meet the People TourWhen you want to visit Costa Rico, Emilio and Stephanie, the owners of Il Viaggio Travel, suggest, “Think about your hobbies, favorite pastimes, and the type of dream vacation you would prefer. We create one of a kind, special tours tailored to you. If you like to cook, why not a cooking holiday where you can meet the restaurant’s chefs and take cooking classes. Our Meet-the- People- Tour brings you off- the- beaten- path to visit their homes, watch
artists create, and much more.
The tours do not have to be expensive, we arrange tours at all price ranges. www.ilviaggiocr.com[email protected]
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