While celebrating my birthday in Costa Rica, my mom and I had the opportunity to visit the Doka Coffee Estate in Alajuela, Costa Rica. Since I am a huge Starbucks aficionado (just ask the baristas on Canyon Road in Puyallup, Washington), I thought this would be a great way to learn about the beverage I enjoy so much and visit a real working coffee plantation. Coffee production first began in 1779 and the first exported beans to the United Kingdom happened in 1843 by William Le Lacheur Lyon, captain of the English ship, The Monarch.
After a brief stop at the seed bed to observe and learn about the development process of the plant and the history of the coffee plantation, it was on to observe the oldest humid coffee processing plant. Declared to be an Architectural Heritage for Humanity in 2003, the coffee processing plant operates by hydraulic power.
After the grains are classified and de-pulped, it’s off to the fermentation tanks where the fermentation process provides significant taste of the coffee that will soon be enjoyed by many.
Once the fermentation process has been completed, the coffee is then dried – either in the Guardiola or on the patios under the sun. After the drying process is complete, it is then stored in sacks in the bodega (coffee house) until it is exported or roasted in country.
Some of the coffee is roasted and then packaged by hand on site for tour participants to purchase and take home to enjoy; however, the majority of the coffee produced (I believe it is around 40% of all the coffee produced) is exported to the United States.
Until the next adventure….