My first cup of Java
Trip Start Aug 26, 2007
40Trip End Jan 05, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We woke up bright and early and were on a bus to a coffee farm by 6:50am! Melvin, our cheerful tour guide, welcomed us, along with several tourists from Puebla, Mexico, a young couple from Israel, Francisco and Carla, an Ecuadorian couple living in Massachusetts and Hank, the lone traveler from Atlanta.
After breakfast, we enjoyed a relaxing tour on the farm, including a demonstration of how coffee is grown and roasted. We learned that the coffee flavor is determined by the length of time that the beans are roasted. Did you know that the only difference between the light European blend and the dark Espresso is a matter of 2 minutes in roasting time (European blend is roasted for 15 minutes and Express for 17). We also learned that the quality of the coffee bean is determined by its weight. It's tested in a water barrel and those that float to the top are tossed away or sold to McDonald's and those that sink are the premium beans that you enjoy and are willing to pay $11 dollars for. We were briefly tempted to buy a bag of the organic treasure, until we realized that the price was more than half of what we were paying for our San Jose hotel room!! More to come on that budget disaster later.
Another interesting, "Did you know" is that coffee originated in Ethiopia and coffee legend suggests that an Arabian shepherd, named Kaldi, was the first to explore coffee's euphoric qualities.
STARING A VOLCANO IN THE MOUTH
You will be delighted to know that Carolina is a stickler for accuracy. These next few entries have been meticulously reviewed and edited by her detailed eye. As an example, if Caro weren't with me, this section would have been erroneously titled "Staring at the eye of the volcano!!!" In addition, there should be less typos going forward. Another perk of her demand for accuracy!!
The hike to the volcano was pleasant, though I must admit that after two weeks of being home, I found the easy ascent a bit challenging! Of course, I blamed it on the altitude of 2,500 meters, that's always a nice scapegoat! The lesson learned is that I need to live in areas that force me to be active.
We learned from Melvin, that the volcano is only visible 20% of the times he brings visitors there, so we felt extremely blessed to be able to clearly see the crater of the active Poas volcano. Rest assured, the last time it erupted was two years ago, so we felt semi-safe at such a short distance. The only people that actually hike to the mouth of the crater are vulcanologist, those brave souls, or crazy nuts! By the way, the mouth of the crater is 1 mile wide and is one of the few in the world that have a lake inside. The spectacular aqua color is due to the high sulfuric content located in the water. You can thank Carolina for those wonderfully detailed nuggets!!
After the volcano tour, we made a pit stop for fresh strawberries and coffee liquor. YUM. Stay tuned for the next entry as we describe our adventures with wild, tropical birds, human-like monkeys, precious waterfalls, and an unforgettable boat ride on the Saripiqui River.