An organic coffee tour at Finca Rosa Blanca, a coffee plantation resort in Costa Rica
The view of the Central Valley was majestic. It was our first time at Finca Rosa Blanca, and we were having a typical ‘tico’ breakfast: gallo pinto, scrambled eggs, tortillas, tropical fruits, natural smoothies, and coffee. The place is actually a coffee plantation resort with an elegant and artistic touch, so we were curious to explore more. After breakfast, we got ready for an organic coffee tour. Ulises, our experienced guide, took us on a three-hour walk through the 30-acre plantation, where we learned about the different techniques used to grow and harvest their organic coffee. They use agroforestry, meaning that the high-quality Arabica coffee plants share the land with many other plants and trees, making the tour a delightful walk in the forest with opportunities to see 130+ species of birds. The coffee is certified organic by the BCS OKO Garantie (an international organic agriculture certification) and sustainable by Rainforest Alliance and ICAFE, the Costa Rica National Institute for Coffee. Finca Rosa Blanca also holds the highest ranking in the government’s sustainable tourism certification scale: five green leaves.
Dozens of hummingbirds were accompanying us at various points throughout the tour, and we even got to see two of their nests. Hummingbird nests are nicely decorated and normally well-hidden in coffee plants or in trees. It was cute to watch the hummingbird looking after its babies, and we learned so much about the forests and the harmony of the ecosystem, which is essential to guarantee a good quality coffee. For example, we saw how the banana trees naturally irrigate the coffee plants during the dry season (they store water during the rainy season and irrigate the land when decomposing in the dry season), and Ulises explained how big trees’ shadows protect the coffee plants that would be otherwise exposed. At the end of the walk, we saw how they select the best beans and where the Finca Rosa Blanca staff dry and roast them. Back at the hotel, we had a coffee tasting session with Ulises. He prepared two different types of coffee and taught us how to taste them, and also how to recognise some of its attributes such as bitterness, sweetness, aroma and acidity.
It was hard to believe that we were only 30 minutes away from San Jose, and 20 minutes from the international airport. The idea of staying in a beautiful boutique hotel in a rural area, which has its own organic coffee plantation, was very appealing, and things were about to get even better. At the resort’s farm-to-table restaurant, El Tigre Vestido, they have created a coffee connoisseur menu, where diners have the opportunity to try innovative dishes that use the locally grown organic coffee. The delicious menu includes a four-course meal, including amuse-bouche, a light starter, the main course and a dessert.
The hotel is beautifully decorated, with good taste, offering two villas and 14 suites, each one of them with a particular theme. There is also a chemical-free swimming pool, as well as a jacuzzi with more great views over the Central Valley. From an eco-friendly perspective, Finca Rosa Blanca is carbon neutral and has planted more than 7,000 native trees over the last 25 years. Moreover, they also support the surrounding community by buying from nearby farmers, as well as hiring only local people. Besides their organic coffee tour, the rest of the activities and excursions also seek to promote Costa Rican culture, mainly through tours or with activities that involve the local community.
Stay tuned for more posts on other outstanding Latin American ecolodges like this one.