Posts from the ‘Costa Rica’ Category

Coffee Plantation

Plantation Panoramic

Gorgeous view from the top of a coffee plantation

So today we went to visit a plantation that was for sale. Let me preface this with a wow. We got picked up in a Land Rover Discovery outfitted with mud terrain tires and a winch on the front. It seemed like overkill until we saw the roads we would be going up. Over the next half an hour we crawled up steep and muddy terrain as we wound our way up the mountain through the plantation. I have seen the ruins of Ankor Wat, sunrise and sunset over the Sea of Cortez, and the northern lights over the fjords in Norway, yet the view at the top of the plantation made me grin stupidly and lost for words. Now to think this was on a cloudy and rainy day, which blocked the site of a nearby active volcano and two immense valleys… Even so, it instantly made my short list of cool things I have seen in life.

Everyday an adventure,

-Lawson

Advertisements

On the 7th day He rested…

It makes sense that God rested on the 7th day because earlier in the week he made the rain forests in Costa Rica. Saturday David and I went on a canopy tour through the rain forests here. Costa Rica has about .25% of the world’s landmass yet it contains about 5% of the world’s bio diversity. (The photos below are courtesy of google image searches. This is because we did not think it wise to bring the camera into a rain forest…)

The view was amazing during our tour and the rain rhythmically beat on the canvas roof of our tram. The two young women from Brooklyn who were also in our tram didn’t miss a chance to yell at our guide. They did not seem to understand that it rains in a rain forest and this could lead to getting wet. Also they were upset that our guide did not have total control over the animals. They seemed to confuse zoos as being accurate representations of nature and did not seem to understand that most of the animals were nocturnal or did not want to be out in the open during a heavy down pour. At first their attitudes were kind of annoying but slowing it became comical as they received the nick name “Brujitas” by the other tour groups and guides which means “witch” in Spanish.

A few of the more interesting things we saw are pictured above. We saw a dead moth with a parasite growing out of it which seemed rather Scifi-esque. A golden orb weaver spider that was about the size of my hand, they get their name from having a golden hue to their webs. Apparently their webs are the strongest webs on record and it is common that small birds get caught in them and eaten… Finally we saw a blue butterfly that seemed to radiate a neon blue light.

Following the lead of the Creator, on the seventh day, we too rested.

-Lawson

Just another day in the internship

Random fact of the day: The term “gringo” is said to have come from when some annoying Irish men visited Costa Rica and apparently were not liked very much and were told that the green must go which apparently turned into  “green go” I don’t know if this is true but this is what our guide told us.

So since the pictures pretty much explain most of what our day was like, I would like to give special attention to all of the statues of rather large women that appear all around our hotel and surrounding area. David and I expected that these statues were of some great cultural relevance to the people of Costa Rica… I will attempt to explain the significance of this large woman statue in poem form.

Oh large woman statue… you are such a mystery

Could you be someone’s grandma

Could you be the village cook

Would you read me a bedtime book

Do you give the warmest hugs

Do you help kill the scary bugs

Oh large woman, of what importance are you…

Well according to our guide it is of absolutely no significance to Costa Rica and must be just what some local artist likes to sculpt… Since my poem about this statue is not good at all I would encourage you to “comment” and write a poem of what you think this statue symbolizes.

Take a minute to let yourself laugh,

-Lawson

Cupping with the Best!

Lawson and I had our cupping session with Rafa today!! Very educational and very interesting.

Our visit to Tarrazu

Since we can’t fly you here to experience what we did, click here and order some Costa Rican Tarrazu coffee.

Interesting Fact: No matter how bad the coffee is at any given mill or plantation you say, “This is the best coffee in all of Costa Rica!” To say that you do not like someone’s coffee is like saying that you think their child is ugly and dumb, it is just something that you do not do.

Today we saw the biggest wet and dry mills in all of Costa Rica. To give you perspective we were told that the owner of the dry mill (something like a big warehouse with processing capability) makes 1 million dollars off of the coffee that spills onto the ground out of the burlap sacks every year! That is just the coffee that he sweeps up off the ground and repackages. And, the general manager of the wet mill has his mill running 24 hours a day for 3 months straight every year. During this 3 month span he does 10,000 coffee cuppings to ensure the quality of their coffee. What makes this even more interesting is that drinking coffee  is against his religion (he swishes it in his mouth then spits it out, he does not drink it).

The drive to Tarrazu, Costa Rica was beautiful. It consisted of a 2 hour car ride that wound through tropical forests. The higher we got in the mountains the better the view became as we were able to see for miles down into the valleys. We drove so high that we pierced the cloud canopy and emerged on the other side, overlooking a cloud-covered paradise. I think moments like this one are the reason that the word “joy” was created, because nothing else comes close to explaining the experience.

Enjoy living,

-Lawson

Just a Few Pictures

Lawson and I figured that some pictures may help you guys realize how amazing this place is. More to follow soon!

©2010 Ferris Coffee & Nut Co. All rights reserved

Retro rocking through day 2

To start off, most of you reading this probably have no idea just how much goes into preparing the coffee beans before they are even roasted.  I am not going to talk about that because you can read it in a book. I am going to continue to tell you the tale of two Ferris interns and the adventures that they have while learning about the coffee industry.

The day begins with David and I waking up much earlier than we needed to. For those of you who know me, this is not something that I typically experience. Our contact said he would meet us in the lobby of our hotel at 9 (low and behold all cultural stereotypes hold true, he arrived at 9:30). From there we were met with many comments of how much younger we are than their typical clients and how beautiful the women are in various parts of Costa Rica and how we need to go to these places and meet the women. It took much time and some effort for us to communicate the point that although we are younger than their other clients, we actually came here to learn everything we could about coffee. That fact seemed to confuse them (the people here are very proud of how beautiful their women are). Upon arriving at the Coffee Terroirs office we met our main contact, Rafa. Rafa spoke sentences in word form, “Howareyounicetomeetyou. Webasicallyshutdownduringtheworldcuparoundhere.” The best David and I could do to keep up with the conversation was to smile and nod. The coffee industry had obviously had its affect on Rafa.

Rafa had assigned a man named Otero to show us around various coffee mills. Here they are called Co-ops and Beneficiaries. You may wonder what these mills were like… Imagine the hyper kid in your grade school class that played with Legos… Now Imagine that he was given a lot of metal and machines to connect. Most of the places we visited were built in the 40’s and one of them was upgraded in the 60’s. As more machines are added to the facilities, walkways are built using unconventional methods through existing structures to connect them. For anyone who has seen a James Bond movie, or any older action movie for that matter, imagine the classic gun fight scenes where they are in some old industrial factory with tons of scary looking machinery. You know, the machinery that one of the bad guy ends up falling into before he dies. That is the best description of the places we went. The metal bounced like a trampoline under my feet and I walked in a crouch for most of our tours trying to avoid hitting my head on various sharp, tetanus-giving pieces of metal. Apparently they are a lot safer and nicer than they were 20 years ago, they give thanks to the many regulations that have been put in place since then. But to me it all looked like devices that would be used in a horror movie. Ok, I have made that point clear. With those regulations came composting… We arrived at this part of the tour at 2 p.m. which is about 3 hours later than we would normally eat lunch back home. With the composting of the coffee, fruit, and shell byproducts came an odor that (I kid you not) I could taste. Imagine that Fermenting Cranberry Juice had a party with Sewage and that is what I could taste.

But the day quickly took a turn for the better. With our heads stuffed with knowledge and our bellies empty and churning our guide, Otero took us out for an authentic Costa Rican meal. It was called something like Casado and consisted of pit roasted pork, rice, beans, plantains, a potato and meat mixture, and some kind of vegetable salad. It was precisely what we needed. One of my highlights of the day was experiencing that music really is the universal language. Otero would translate for us during our tours, his english is pretty good, our spanish is terrible… But when we were in the car driving to different places we all took turns hitting the high notes to “Stayin Alive” by the Bee Gees, Bob Dylan, The Police, and my personal favorite “All Night Long” by Lionel Richie. None of us knew all the lyrics to the songs but we knew the tunes. As the radio host would announce the name of the song to play next Otero would smile really big and say with a thick accent “Oh theis song issa gud wan… vary nu, vary nu” then would burst into laughter at his own joke.

Back in our hotel room by 7:20 with exhausted feet and heads spinning with the business side of coffee (which David took pages upon pages of notes on so he can explain it to you if you would like) (edit by david: not gunna happen). Tomorrow holds some more coffee visits and a coffee cupping.

Feel like you are missing out? Go to Ferriscoffee.com and order some coffee from Costa Rica. Chances are that some of our new found friends played a part in getting it to you.

Enjoying the little things,

-Lawson