Coffee in Costa Rica

Coffee in Costa Rica

What better way to learn about the coffee making process than right on a coffee plantation inside a Costa Rican rainforest?

I woke up completely encompassed by lush rain forest, the early sunrise casting pink and purple hues over 5,000 perfectly planted coffee trees. I couldn't believe this massive coffee plantation was so perfectly hidden deep inside the mountains of San Jose, Costa Rica. 
Situated at the perfect elevation for coffee growing and a world away from the hustle and bustle of San Jose, Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation offers a once in a lifetime experience. I had the unique opportunity to stay right on the Plantation, and took an in-depth tour of their entire property, their processing plant, and even their roasting house. You don’t have to drink a $5 cup everyday to be a true coffee lover, but it is important to know where your coffee comes from. You may even be surprised with why you prefer the taste of one brand to another. 
Why Where Your Coffee Comes From is Important
 My private tour  on the plantation was hosted by Wildlife expert Ulises Zuniga, and my interview with him shed light on why it’s so important now more than ever to know exactly where your coffee comes from. Modern coffee plantations are replacing wildlife habitats at an alarming rate, and the population of bird species across North and South America are on significant decline. Shade grown coffee, the traditional method of coffee farming used at Finca Rosa, offers a promising alternative. Shade-grown and certified sustainable coffee is rapidly gaining popularity, because it is a product that anyone and everyone can support, and because of its excellent quality and taste. Savoring a cup of certified sustainable coffee can improve livelihoods for farm families and conserve wildlife and tropical ecosystems - a rare "win-win" opportunity.
 Certified Organic Coffee is grown by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality. The coffee at Finca Rosa is organic and grown without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. This assures the health of the soil, the forest and the farmers. 
So how can coffee lovers know if the beans we drink come from farms that are environmentally friendly and socially responsible? The only way to know for sure is to seek out credible labels such as Rainforest Alliance Certified, which guarantees that farms are on the path toward true sustainability, and qualified organic labels, which guarantee that farms are not using harmful pesticides and fertilizers.
So drinking coffee that supports other coffee lovers and the environment?...Check.
 Next, figure out why you may prefer Starbucks over Dunkin, like your coffee light and sweet, or cringe at the taste of black coffee.
    Where your coffee is grown, stored, and the soil it is grown in, have tremendous impacts on the flavors and aromas that go into your daily cup. First things first.. did you know that there are vast differences between taste and aroma? Sounds like common knowledge, but each person has different preferences on both as people’s receptors on both their tongue and nose are different. 
An aroma is something you find with your nose; hints of flowers, wood, nuts, licorice and even dirt. These things aren’t actually roasted in your coffee, but often have to do with where your coffee is grown, stored, and the soil it is grown in. Even the richness in the soil  that your coffee beans are grown in can activate specific oils in the coffee bean which bring out different flavors. Flavor is something you find with your tongue, WITHOUT smell. Humans can only taste 5 flavors;


    In coffee, you only find 3 flavors; sweet, sour, and bitter. Want to see the difference for yourself?
    Try this: Hold your nose, take a sip coffee in your mouth, see what you taste, and write it down. Now let go your nose, and see what you taste next. Big difference right?
          Once a coffee bean is ripe and ready for roasting, it is bright green and thrown into the roaster for a specific time based on method and batch size. The longer a coffee bean is in a roaster, the more bitter the coffee bean will become. The type of coffee that you purchase actually has to do with exactly how long it was roasted for. For example French & Italian Roasts are typically more bitter because they spend more time in the roaster while a Spanish roast is lighter, because it spends less time in the roaster.
     (Ripe Coffee Beans at Finca Rosa Blanca)
    A cup of coffee is only as good as the beans you start with. Here are some Tips for the brewing your best Best Tasting Coffee yet!
    1. Buy fresh, whole bean coffee
    2. Keep an eye out for Rainforest certified
    3. Grind your coffee immediately before brewing for maximum flavor. (you can grind your own beans at almost any grocery store or market)
    4. Some of the best beans are sold at local coffee roasters throughout the state
    5. Use a French press for the best flavor (Find one at Walmart or Amazon for $10-$20)
      Luckily, most at home coffee makers and Kuerigs never brew at boiling point, b
      ut that doesn’t mean your coffee is still safe from burning. Heat is the easiest way to change the flavor of the coffee. Ever reheat your coffee in the in the microwave or let it sit for too long on the burner? Unfortunately you’re making your coffee taste worse. Burning coffee totally diminishes specific flavors and aromas, and instead heightens the bitterness factor of what you’re about to drink.
      Lesson of the day; bitter doesn’t always meant better…
      sometimes it just means burnt.

      Interested in staying or taking a tour at Finca Rosa Blanca?

      Follow Ulises on Instagram! @ULIZV

      Contact: Contact: | USA: 1-(305) 395 3042 | CR: +(506) 2269 9392


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