From the Bean to the Cup! Coffee Production in Monteverde
The Don Juan Coffee Tour offers an interesting opportunity to learn about coffee and Costa Rican folklore. During the coffee tour, participants will learn about the history, cultivation, and operation of a functioning coffee 'beneficio'. Visitors will have a chance to pick coffee and take part in the different steps involved in coffee production. At the end of the tour coffee and souvenirs are available from the gift shop.
The Don Juan Coffee Tour is a chance to experience first hand the tradition that is the growing of coffee in Costa Rica. The farm has a typical ox-drawn cart that you can take a ride in. The Tour lasts two hours and involves a half kilometers walk along an easy trail. The tour takes place on a coffee farm located two kilometers outside of Santa Elena - Monteverde.
Since the end of the 19th century coffee has been a major part of the economy of Costa Rica. Since 1990 coffee prices have fallen drastically all over the world, and tourism has come to replace coffee as the largest segment of the Costa Rican economy. However, coffee farming still has a major impact on the culture of Costa Rica, and to experience real native Costa Rican life everyone should at least visit at least one coffee farm.
Coffee can only be grown at certain elevations, generally between 800 and 1400 meters in altitude. It requires moderate temperatures and good soil.
The coffee harvest in Costa Rica so strongly affected the nation that school and work schedules used to be arranged to allow both adults and children to pick. Each year during the months of December until February (depending on the altitude) families would congregate on the coffee plantations and pick from sunup to sundown, each worker paid by the basket of coffee picked (.95¢ for each ten lbs.), the fruit from the trees being more valuable than the fruit on the ground. Today coffee has become so cheap that farmers no longer pick up coffee that has already fallen from the tree prizing quality over quantity.
Each coffee tree needs four years to provide its first harvest. The plant may then be harvested once a year for the next six years, then must be pruned short and allowed two years before the next six year harvests. Each plant can produce for only thirty years. Coffee plants require a great deal of rain and still no one has invented a system for irrigating it.
Included on the Tour:
Price per person:
Adults $30 Children ages 6-15 $10