Well, not exactly, but we have certainly found a bit of heaven in many cups of smooth, full bodied coffee while on our visits to Costa Rica. We enjoyed it so much we simply had to take a tour of one of the country’s leading coffee producers. Now, many people take the Britt tours and I understand they are fun and informative. But we wanted something a bit different, so we asked at the Lodge and it was recommended that we take the Doka Coffee Plantation tour and we signed up. But first, we would take an early morning trip up to the site of Poas Volcano, not the most active volcano in Costa Rica but certainly beautiful. To get the most of the experience a weather check the day before should be made as well as being sure to get there very early because once the clouds roll in, there is simply not any view of the beautiful green lake at its mouth. We managed to barely beat the gray mists that followed close behind us that day.
It’s a nice little hike up from the parking and facilities area to the mouth and viewing area of Poas, so be sure to wear a good hiking shoe and perhaps even a light sleeve or jacket because at times it is quite chilly. The air is thinner at the higher elevation, so getting winded can come quickly if you are a deep breather. I simply lost my breath from the magnificent view and surrounding beauty of the place. Our guide stopped along the way to show us different flora and explain the nature of these plants. It is more than a tour, it is an educational experience as well.
While I was disappointed that I didn’t get a clearer shot of the lake, I was able to view its beauty between wisps of rolling clouds.
On the way out, there is a coffee shop (of course) as well as a beautiful gift shop where you can pick up souvenirs as well as locally hand made items. They are masters of woodworking here and nothing natural goes to waste. I never knew so much could be done with a coconut!
There were so many plants and flowers to see and learn about. After our “education” I decided that I definitely did not want to venture off on any self guided hikes through the jungles or forests there. It seemed to me the flora was more menacing than the fauna. 🙂
For more information on Poas Volcano tours visit their website at http://www.costarica-nationalparks.com
On to the Doka tour!
While the road may not be paved with coffee beans, this sidewalk at the entrance to the Doka Farms was very beautiful, creative and expressed their pride in what they do there. Our tour was conducted by the same young man who drove us to Poas and was our guide for the day. Although the facility provides tours and guides, our driver was more than happy to be our tour guide for the visit and was very knowledgeable about all facets of the process. You truly cannot always imagine what goes into producing the things we enjoy and often take for granted every day..
From the moment we arrived we were taken into an area where coffee plants were growing and asked to pick a bean pod which we both did. The “cherry” has to be a certain shade to be ready for picking so we carefully chose one each. Our guide checked our choices and congratulated us on our ability to choose correctly. He broke open the pods so we could taste the sweet outer membrane that encased the bean. When he opened mine he was delighted and said I was very lucky indeed, for I had chosen a rarer type bean that is known as the Peaberry. Every coffee bean has two halves normally but the Peaberry is one entire piece. It brews a much more mellow, milder version of coffee that they often serve as a tea. I was so excited and of course had to get some later to taste. Forgive the absence of actual coffee plant photos but we were both so engrossed in this information, we never stopped to take them. :0
This bright young man was our guide for the day. It has been two years and his name escapes me but if he sees this I sure hope he reminds me. We had a lovely day and a great meal at a local restaurant on the road which served typical food that was delicious.
We were given a tour of the entire process from picking, drying and sorting, to roasting and finally-my favorite part-the tasting!
a sorting bin for the beans.
A view of the animal habitats on the reserve of Peace Lodge
This should give you an idea of our journey to and from the Lodge. And this was the good part of the road. 😉
Next we go down to the beaches of Manuel Antonio! Pura Vida.
In the roasting room there were samples of the various varieties that Doka sells and we were able to sample them to know which ones we would enjoy later. It helped with the shopping! To this day we order our coffee online from Doka and they ship to our home. I have now found that my favorite evening drink is a nice cup of Doka Espresso. And the caffeine in all of Costa Rica’s coffee is lower than standard coffees. To check out their availability and order their Tres Generaciones line of products, go to dokaestate.com/catalog.php.
We prefer to purchase whole bean coffee and grind it daily for the freshest cup, but it is also available ground.
Soooo….who wants coffee?
It was a wonderful day and what better way to end the day than a nice hot shower back at the Lodge in the waterfall shower…..