Today we headed to Barva de Heredia for a tour of Café Britt, the first gourmet coffee roaster in Costa Rica. Upon arrival we were greeted by enthusiastic and highly entertaining tour guides who provided us with a lot of information, fun facts, and history about the production of coffee. The tour began with a brief explanation of the history of coffee, focusing on where it started and how it ultimately ended up in Costa Rica. The guide explained that the Costa Rican economy was rejuvenated by entering into the coffee industry, which is why coffee continues to be a major component of the Costa Rican culture.
Next stop on the tour was the roasting and packaging process. Café Britt is primarily a roaster. While they do grow their own beans, the majority of their coffee is purchased from organic shade grown farms in the area. Although they take pride in using sustainable production measures and producing organic coffee, they shared this interesting fact with us, “Costa Rica produces 2% of the world’s coffee however, only 5% of that is organic”. We found this to be very interesting considering the trend of companies moving toward organic and sustainable products. We learned that Café Britt packages their coffee in specialized bags that allow the coffee to stay fresh for a year before it is opened and up to a month after.
We then learned the cupping process for the second time. Their techniques were very similar however this time we were offered tips on how we as consumers can keep the coffee fresh and delicious like they do. We ended the tour with a traditional Costa Rican lunch and lots of delicious coffee.
In conjunction with what we learned yesterday a lot of loose ends were tied up allowing us to obtain a greater understanding of what it takes for coffee to go from bean to cup. Pura Vida!
Tips for a great tasting coffee:
- Purchase pre-ground coffee unless you have a proper grinder and know how to do so. It makes all the difference in the taste. Fine ground coffee is only for espresso.
- Do not leave your coffee in the pot for more than 10 minutes.
- Consume coffee within 20 minutes of pouring.
- In order to preserve coffee throughout the day keep it in a thermos.
Laura Bowen, Brittany Hart, Jennifer Jacob
Bryant Sustainability Marketing 385