Recently, I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the Starbucks Coffee Farm in Alajuela, Costa Rica. This farm is also called Hacienda Alsacia. Costa Rica is known for their amazing coffee and as an avid Starbucks fan myself, this was a real treat. We got to learn about the the process of how coffee is produced as well as the logistics behind the production. I also learned about the research and development that goes into producing coffee sustainably.
Hacienda Alsacia Cafe
At this farm, Nicaraguans grow and manage the crops. They also live on the coffee farm. Their children go to school on the farm while their parents are working.
The process of producing coffee takes a very long time. It takes about five years before the crop of coffee cherries can be harvested off of the coffee tree. The coffee cherries have to be fully bright red in order to be harvested. When they are ready to be harvested, they are picked by workers. The coffee trees only produce one pound of coffee per year. It also takes 25 beans to produce a single espresso shot.
There is a big difference between U.S. coffee and Costa Rican Coffee. Costa Rican coffee is much stronger and darker than U.S. coffee or coffee imported to the U.S. Costa Rica is the only country where I personally feel comfortable drinking black coffee. Also, in Costa Rica, there is no such thing as decaf coffee, they only have coffee that is fully caffeinated. So be careful if you drink coffee at night.
You can only eat the red skin that holds the seed inside. It tastes very earthy from my experience. The beans go through a machine where the outer cherry skin is husked off. Then the beans get dried outside before being packaged. The outer skin is often used as compost.
I am now an official coffee connoisseur after this tour. Like the way that people have an interest in wine tastings. Everyone got to try a sample that is shown in the left photograph. It was very strong and had a dark chocolate and earthly taste to it in case you wanted to know. After the tour, my friend and I sat down in their cafe and got even more coffee. We enjoyed our coffee while also taking in the amazing views.
This tour was one that I will truly never forget. It brought me a greater appreciation for coffee and all the hard work that goes into growing and producing coffee. It also raised my standards for how I want my coffee. Starbucks is a coffee buyer, which gets coffee from farms all around the globe. You can always count on Starbucks to have responsibly grown and fair-trade coffee.