Best Coffee Tours
Costa Rica’s coffee is world famous for its smooth flavor and superb quality. The country’s rich volcanic soil and cool temperatures create ideal conditions to cultivate this delicious drink. If the java junkie in you is interested in more than just tasting some of the world’s finest blends, a coffee tour may be just what you’re looking for. Visit a working coffee plantation; learn about the history of java and how it grows from seed to mature fruiting plant. Here are some of our favorite coffee tours:
The largest producer of Costa Rican export-quality coffee, a visit to Cafe Britt is one of the Central Valley’s most popular daytrips. The classic tour incorporates hard facts and humorous dramatization to deliver an informative and enjoyable take on the coffee process. You’ll begin in a small coffee field near downtown Heredia, where shade trees protect the fragile plants and foliage decorates the landscape. After learning about coffee fruits – and picking a few for yourself – you’ll head to the roasting room for a lesson in everything from light roast to espresso. You’ll end at the coffee bar, where Cafe Britt’s skilled baristas create incredible, caffeinated concoctions. The plantation also has a Coffee Lovers tour, which follows the classic tour model and adds a visit to a coffee mill and an organic coffee plantation. Cafe Britt sells several roasts, including a fair trade blend and an excellent organic, shade-grown variety.
Open: Daily; Tours at 9:30 (classic) and 11:00 a.m. (classic & coffee lovers’)
Doka Estate coffee, marketed as Tres Generaciones (Three Generations), is true to its name: the estate has been a working coffee farm for over 70 years. The award-winning coffee is grown on the slopes of Poas Volcano, nourished by fertile, volcanic soil. The Doka Estate coffee tour takes place in the estate’s verdant coffee fields, and you’ll be encouraged to engage your senses throughout – touch dried fruits, smell the beans roasting, and taste the final product. Coffee aficionados will be particularly interested in Doka’s peaberry blend: this ultra-concentrated bean accounts for about 5% of all coffee cherries and is usually picked and blended with other coffee beans. At Doka however, peaberries are separated out and roasted into a special, rich blend – an obsidian elixir that drives coffee lovers wild. Various roasts are well priced (about $7 for 3/4 lbs.) at Doka Estate’s gift shop – be sure to try the peaberry!
Open: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Telephone: 2449-5152 or 2449-6623
Monteverde’s Coope Santa Elena is a cooperative of 42 small coffee farmers who share resources, cultivate in harmony with the surrounding cloud forest, and sell their coffee under a common brand name. The Monteverde coffee tour alternates visits to various farmers, depending on availability and cherry ripeness – giving you the best coffee experience possible. Most of the cooperative’s farmers are unofficially organic – they do not use chemicals but have not been certified organic – and are exclusively fair trade. A unique treat for java junkies is the cooperative’s sun-dried variety, whose smooth flavor and golden color are a delicious deviation from the norm (most commercial coffee is machine-dried). Coope Santa Elena sells light roast, dark roast, and sun-dried coffees.
Open: Daily; Tour reservations required