by Emily Bryant, FSA Representative
Last month I was lucky enough spend a few days at La Minita, a coffee farm in Costa Rica. As part of our relationship with Food Services of America we take a few of their sales reps on a trip every year. Since I’m their main contact at Portland Roasting I was tasked as their travel buddy.
After 12 hours of travel we touched down in San Jose, the capitol, and were greeted by our host, Scott. We piled into a bus and drove for an hour and a half through steep mountain roads to reach Hacienda La Minita. I have never seen anything so amazing in my life! The guest house sits at an elevation of about 5,000ft and has a wonderful view of the surrounding farm. At this point we’ve been awake for about 24 hours but its only 9am and we’ve got a full day coffee education ahead of us!
—La Minita, Costa Rica
As Scott started teaching us about the workings of the farm we climbed into the back of a truck for a tour. There are about 700 acres currently in production so a truck is definately the way to go. The roads snake up and down the terraced hillsides and if not for the experience of our driver it would’ve been a pretty scary and treacherous ride! La Minita is an estate coffee farm which means that they manage the complete coffee cycle…everything from planting the seedlings to exporting green coffee to roasters all over the world. The farm employs about a dozen full time employees year round and during harvest they hire anywhere from 300 to 350 pickers. We got back to the guest house about lunch time and were introduced to our cook, Isa. We were all so impressed by the food that for every other meal we were practically drooling while we waited to be called in to the table.
After lunch we jumped back in the truck and drove back down to the base of the hill to check out the mill. The milling process was amazing to see first hand…especially since I’ve been working in the coffee industry for almost 10 years! It was fascinating and deserves its very own blog…so more on that soon!
By the time we got back to the farm the sun was setting and it was almost time for dinner. We sat on the (amazing!) porch and watched the sun set over the mountains while enjoying a few Imperials (the national beer of Costa Rica…apparently…because it was everywhere!). The excitement of the day kept us awake for about 36 hours but after Isa’s fantastic dinner…bacon wrapped filet mignon and pineapple pie…we all felt it was time to call it a day.
Stay tuned for a virtual tour of the mill!