Friday, October 15, 2010

Cuppa Trivia and Camp at Café Britt.

Here are three things I learned from the popular Café Britt coffee tour yesterday:

1. My coffee grinder sucks. I have a small spinning-blade type coffee grinder. I tend to grind aggressively and get everything from tiny shreds to espresso-like powder. We were told the roller-mill types are better, because you want a grind of uniform size. Sort of like grinding malt for a brewing mash. Fair enough.

2. Decaffeinated coffee comes from Hamburg. Or, a lot of it does, apparently. Producers like Britt send their green coffee beans to Germany for processing. A company in Hamburg extracts the caffeine, sells it to other companies, and sends the coffee back to Costa Rica. Or wherever. Fun trivia for you.

3. Coffee tourism is a cottage industry. It's not huge, which is why I put it in a cottage. But on our way to Café Britt in Heredia, and driving through the hills above Alajuela, we saw a signs advertising other, lesser-known coffee tours. The feedback form we completed at Britt asked if we had attended other tours and how they compared. So there is competition. (Someone has to check them all out, right?) Coffee tours are not quite up there with Volcan Arenal and Manuel Antonio, but they are definitely one of the things to do in Costa Rica.

Quick review of the Britt tour, which would be the one in all the guidebooks: Plenty of entertainment and information packed into 90 minutes, before a coffee tasting and buffet lunch of comidas tipicas -- included in the $35 price. Visitors are guided on the tour by faux-farmers, actors well practiced at not appearing bored by the tried-and-true jokes they've been telling for years. It's easy to play along with the campiness. As a bonus the guides obviously know their subject cold.

I can recommend it to any coffee lover looking to kill an afternoon in the Valle Central. Then again, I don't have any other coffee tours with which to compare it... yet.


  1. Haha, it's all downhill (or maybe uphill) from here. You'll be roasting your own before you know it.

  2. Thank you for your recommendation! We are glad you enjoyed it and appreciate so much your comments.