This January Team Roasterie made our annual trip to the beautiful country of Costa Rica. The team from The Roasterie was joined by our friends writer Kimberly Stern and Chef Jasper Mirabile, Jr. We were also joined by the winners of The Roasterie Adventure contest that we held last year!
Meet the winners and our new friends Blair and Louise Anderson! They had such a great experience with the Roasterie staff, that they were willing to share their exciting adventures with you all. Here is their story…
“On a lark, we entered the Roasterie photo contest and had a blast sharing with our family, friends and anyone else who would listen concerning the contest. We were shocked to actually win the trip and somewhat at a loss to explain what exactly the trip involved when people asked! Just to make sure we weren’t flying to Costa Rica with some guy wearing a scarf in an old bi-plane, we decided to attend the Roasterie’s 20th Anniversary Gala to meet those whom we would be traveling with. Amidst the fine food, music, and multitude of guests Danny spoke about his employees, specifically Norman, the master roaster. As he spoke, we heard a familiar sound, that of a two cylinder JD tractor. What Danny described next, the history behind the tractor and gifting to Norman spoke volumes of the culture of the Roasterie. We knew then the upcoming trip to Costa Rica was going to be a good one. We just did not realize how good it was going to be.
Our trip to Costa Rica, no bi-plane, was indeed first class. Especially when it came to the people and relationships we formed. The opportunity to visit 13 coffee farms in 5 days, each with their unique innovations in production was fascinating. In those five days of touring coffee farms with Danny O’Neill and The Roasterie crew, we saw demonstrations of crop planning, varietal selection for the right ground, farmers seeking input from other resources for ways to improve their operations such as new bean washing practice that has reduced water usage by 90%. We also saw their creative abilities in dealing with the unexpected as well as that universal producer pride that comes from growing a quality product.
We had no idea of the amount of hand labor involved in coffee production. The intense labor process of hand picking each coffee cherry carries over into the drying process. Whether drying on the ground or on raised beds, the beans need constant manual stirring. At one of the higher elevation farms we learned that the beds closer to the cliffs were impacted differently by the air currents than those beds a short distance away raising the challenge of quality coffee production to an art.
All of the farmers we met had a drive for excellence in quality coffee production and an equal passion for stewardship of their land. At each of our farm visits the farmer’s pride in his coffee crop was undeniable. As farmers, to have had the opportunity to witness their coffee harvest, the care and grading for quality and ultimately the finished product, a world class coffee was an experience we will never forget. Sharing in The Roasterie’s 2014 Costa Rica coffee trip as winners of the 20th Anniversary Photo Contest was one of the most amazing agricultural trips that we have ever experienced.
Having the opportunity to witness a professional in his trade was an added bonus to this unique trip. Danny’s energetic enthusiasm was reinforced as he encountered old Costa Rica farmer friends at our various stops. It was very apparent to us that Danny does business with people, not companies. The relationships that have been established are rich and treasured. The coffee product we saw was just a reflection of that.”
Here are a few photos from Blair and Louise’s Costa Rican Coffee Adventure!