We had our last field trip to a coffee plantation in Naranja, Costa Rica, which is about 15 minutes away from San Ramón. The city reminded me a bit of San Ramón but with more hills.
We started the tour with coffee samples of light, dark, peaberry, and a houseblend. The coffee was absolutely delicious and full of pure flavor. The coffee plantation has about 610 acres of land and is 'in season' at the end of October until the beginning of March. Each tree lives for about 27 years. The workers on the plantation pick about 20-25 good-sized baskets every day. The plantation picks about 4 million pounds of coffee every year and exports about 80%.
A coffee tree seed takes two months to germinate, and another four months to develop tiny leaves. The plant is ready to be transplanted into the ground after about 4 months. We got to see what part of the plant the coffee bean comes from, which is the seed of the fruit. The skin of the fruit is removed and separated from the bean. The bean is then left out to dry in the sun for 7 days. At this stage, the bean is called 'el grano de oro' because of the color. The beans are then toasted for various amounts of time, depending on how intense the desired strength. The light coffee beans are roasted for 23 minutes; the medium for 25 minutes; and the dark for 27 minutes. After the beans are roasted they are put in a cooler, packaged, and ready to be enjoyed.
We learned various ways to test if the coffee is pure and saw the traditional house of a coffee plantation owner.
Our week of hard work has come to end and now Thanksgiving break begins! Happy trails!
Lily, Costa Rica 2010, Biology major, class of 2012