Sunday, May 28, 2023



This is a picture off our porch of a rainstorm...after it calmed down.  The afternoon's plans were to take a tour of a coffee plantation and to prepare and eat a meal at a traditional Costa Rican house.

Our guide Mark and his son Addi joined us.

We went to the coffee plantation.  The tour guide Guillermo gave us an overview.

This shows baby coffee plants, planted about two months ago (behind Guillermo).  To increase productivity of the plantation, they grow beans (in front of Guillermo), while they wait on the coffee to grow and be productive.


Addi stole my camera and went on a photo rampage...  

His photos were mostly better than mine.

Self portrait

Portrait of his dad

The coffee likes to grow on the steep, terraced slopes.  Addi is surveying these.

Guillermo showed us the compost piles they use in their organic coffee area.

To prevent predation of the coffee by leaf cutter ants, the farm has wind breaks planted with a variety of trees.  These Limoncelia trees have giant aromatic spikes.

This picture shows a cattle farm up slope.  Guillermo is concerned that herbicides the farm uses might wash down into their organic coffee plants, contaminating them.

Mature plants.  The beans are harvested mostly by Nicaraguan and Guatemalan laborers who spend about 3 months a year living in Costa Rica.  Guillermo said that the workers earn Costa Rican minimum wage, or a little bit more, and that that is 3-4 times what they would make working in their home countries.  The farm provides housing for free, and feeds the workers 3 meals a day for about $4 a day.  Much of the food is grown right on the farm.

Unripe coffee.

Guillermo dug a giant pit to understand the soil composition to better grow the coffee.

Here you can see an attached coffee plant, it's root structure, and the soil profiles. The deep roots of the coffee reach all the way down to the deep clay layer.

The crew taking a break in an old guava tree.

This is one of the goats who's manure is used in the compost for the coffee.

Test:  Can you pick the object that is different than the other four?

Guillermo shows us how to roast the coffee...

...and then we have a coffee tasting, checking out their light, medium, and dark roasts along with their honey and natural roasts.  The coffees were prepared in french presses.

This is me, obviously enjoying my coffee.  Ok, I don't like coffee at all, and the last time I drunk coffee I was also on a trip to Costa Rica, 5 years ago.  Well, it actually was pretty good...but it's not strong black Ostfreisen Tea.

Next we went to the home of some local Costa Ricans, and friends of Mark and Deb.  This is their house.


At Maricella's house, the students were divided into groups to tackle seven stations. 

Dan and Aidan preparing corn to make tortillas

Lauren and Ryan making fried plantain, or platanons.

Maya helping Jackson and Ben make Chimichuri (kinda like Pico de Gallo)

I missed this woman's name, but she's helping Jenna and Tori make Guacamole.


Aidan and Dan still at it.

If you're wondering what the inside of their house looked like, here you go.  Near is the living room, and in the background, the kitchen.

Here's the kitchen.

We did a lot of the cooking and eating outside in a garage.

The tortillas took a lot of hand work to make the flat round shapes.

Abuela cooking the platanons.

Miracella helping Danielle making Maecuja juice.

The finished product.  Here's my plate.

Isabelle liked it just fine.

Ryan is my eating buddy.  He said he only had two helpings, but when I was getting my second, I think he was getting his between bouts of laughing uncontrollably...

How did it taste?  I guess this picture of my plate tells all.

Tomorrow, an intense day of independent student research and presentations with questions from the group.  Then, time off to eat on their own in Monteverde.


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