Bean Hunter’s Blog: Costa Rica, Part II

The second day in Costa Rica called for some sightseeing, so we decided to head to the Poas Volcano area to visit some friends and take in the sights. The drive up to the volcano was beautiful– miles and miles of coffee farms with amazing views of San Jose and the valleys below. Once we arrived we were a little sad to see how cloudy it was because it would probably reduce our chances of seeing the view of the hills and city below, but nonetheless we started the trek up the paved walkway toward the summit. The walk was short, but exhausting because there’s so little oxygen at that altitude. When we reached the top our fears were confirmed: it was so cloudy that we couldn’t see 5 feet in front of us. The feeling of the cool mist and the strong wind was reward enough for our efforts, though. As we do on every visit, we took what we call the “road less traveled” and followed a small path to a lagoon on the side of the volcano. That walk was slightly longer and took about forty-five minutes to complete, but after eating as much great food as we had the previous day a little exercise in the morning was welcome.
Once we were done with our volcano adventure it was time to get back to coffee. The first farm visit was to one of my favorites: Las Lajas. Remember the Las Lajas Honey coffee from last summer? The one that was so good we sold out in less than 3 weeks? Yeah, it’s that farm. On this visit they had a little surprise for us: they set up a cupping for us of their current crop coffees. This is one of my favorite things to do, to get the chance to taste a coffee with the person who has labored and slaved over it for the past year. It is even better when that coffee is amazing, and I don’t have to give suggestions on how to improve the cup.

After the cupping we sat around and talked about the harvest as well as the weather conditions, which seem to be changing. Right now they’re seeing rain in certain times of the year when they ordinarily shouldn’t, and vice versa. Because coffee is such a weather-dependent crop, these types of changes can be nerve wracking for farmers. I can assure you, though, that you will again see the Las Lajas Honey Process again this year. But,  just to warn you, get your hands on it fast: in my eyes this year’s cup is slightly better than last year’s, and if you got a chance to taste last year’s crop you know that’s hard to beat. After our great visit we headed off to Finca Coffea Suarez, a farm that I had never been to before. We toured the micro mill as well as talked coffee and tasted some more coffee cherries. We also got there at just the right time, as they were receiving fresh coffee cherries and we could see the micro mill in full-swing, giving our guests the pleasure of seeing a mill this compact process a coffee from start to finish.