Costa Rican Coffee Tours

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The tour guide “plantation workers” at Cafe Britt.

If you’re a coffee drinker lucky enough to find yourself in Costa Rica, you’ll probably want to visit a coffee plantation. Near the capital city of San Jose, you’ll find two opportunities to do so: Cafe Britt in Heredia, or the Doka Estate on the road to the Poas Volcano. Though they impart the same information, the two tours are very different. So how do you know which to choose? Decide for yourself.

The tour of the Doka Estate is much more scientific and allows visitors the chance to stand high on a mountain where Arabica beans are grown. From the tour site, visitors can wander among palm trees and down a short path into the rows of coffee bushes that cover the mountainside. This is a working plantation with a working wet mill that runs on hydraulic power. While some coffee is roasted here under the name of Cafe Tres Generaciones, most of the beans grown and processed at Doka are shipped elsewhere for roasting.

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In the Heredia district outside of San Jose, visitors can tour Cafe Britt. Like Doka, the staff at Cafe Britt explain how coffee beans are grown, hand-picked and processed. They include a tour of the roasting facility as well; a much more industrialized factory than the old-fashioned mills and machinery at Doka.

What differentiates Cafe Britt from other coffee tours is their entertaining approach to teaching visitors about coffee. Costumed actors greet visitors as they arrive and then walk them through a patch of shaded coffee bushes where they impart the same basic information about coffee, though they do this by interacting in character with the crowd.

Both tours offer guests insight into the cultivation of coffee and how coffee is processed and roasted. The Doka estate is dedicated to growing coffee. Cafe Britt centers on the roasting process, which is considered an art form. Both tours include samplings of Costa Rican Arabica bean coffee and the opportunity to buy as many bags as your heart desires.

Coffee lovers visiting the San Jose area can’t go wrong with either tour. Choosing one depends on whether you want a more campy, entertaining tour like the one offered at Cafe Britt, or a more authentic, mountainside plantation experience like that at the Doka Estate. Either way, you’ll sample some of the finest coffee Costa Rica has to offer.

What kind of crop tours have you taken?


15 responses to “Costa Rican Coffee Tours

  1. I think that if I had the time, I’d do both tours because they have different perspectives … although if the children are in tow, I’d pick the more energetic and entertaining tour. We went to a coffee farm on Hawaii island, but they didn’t offer tours. It was pretty much roam as you wish and there was an informational video.

  2. I’ve been to a tea plantation in Taiwan where we picked our own tea leaves, rolled them together, and then put them through the machines to have them dried before going home with our own bags of loose leaf tea. It definitely made me appreciate the work that goes into quality tea. But as I’m still partial to coffee, looks like I should be putting a visit to a coffee plantation on my bucket list. 😉

  3. I’ve never toured a coffee plantation, even though I like my coffee an awful lot (mostly an espresso guy). The best crop/farm sort of tour I’ve ever taken was in Australia … the Cape Tribulation Exotic Fruit Farm. The staff does tastings where you sample about 20 different fruits, and most of them I’d never heard of before. But I heard they had black sapote in season, and that was a huge draw for me.

  4. Cafe Britt! LOL!

    I went on the Dole pineapple plantation tour in Hawaii, which was a dangerous thing for me because I freaking love pineapple. By the time we got to the tour, my mouth was already getting raw. After a week of being in Hawaii, I couldn’t taste much because I overdid it on all of the delicious pineapple. Oops! 🙂

  5. Ah, Juliann, I didn’t need to take any tours! I grew up amidst paddy, areca, pepper and coconut crops, and moved to a tea plantation when I got married. Hubby later did a stint on a coffee processing plant for eight long years! One of the reasons we didn’t go on a spice tour in Zanzibar. Although I regretted it later for the loss of blog fodder 🙂

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