One of the largest coffee producer in the world, tiny Costa Rica has long been a draw for anyone looking to understand how coffee is transformed from a cherry-like fruit into a magical elixir. For true aficionados, a stay at Finca Rosa Blanca, an organic coffee plantation resort on the outskirts of San Jose, is the ultimate immersion.
The resort is just 30 minutes from San Jose's bustling downtown, close enough to drive over for dinner, the bucolic setting feels far the big city. Perched high over the lush Central Valley and down the road from the Barva Volcano, dawn at Finca Rosa Blanca is greeted by an exuberant chorus of summer tanagers and blue-crowned motmots. Each guest room includes coffee grown, roasted, and ground onsite, with a French press, so guests can enjoy their first cup in privacy, overlooking the jungle.
Recently named to the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World Collection, each room at Finca Rosa Blanca is different, with high ceilings and curing walls full of local tile work and crafts as well as art — painted by owner Glenn Jampol — depicting the surrounding landscapes and coffee plants.
But the real star is the coffee
The property boasts 30 acres of Arabica coffee plants. It's a hilly hike through more than 50 species of trees — including mango, avocado, and citrus — to learn about Finca Rosa Blanca's organic practices. The diverse foliage cuts the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air and promotes healthier, richer soil without the need for fertilizer, while also attracting more than 130 species of birds, further boosting natural plant growth. The shade means the fruit ripens more slowly, with more concentrated flavors.
The harvest happens between the months of November and January. If you're not lucky enough to visit then, the tour still encompasses the full experience, from plant to grind. Post-tour, it's time for a cupping session, where guests learn how to sniff, slurp, and taste coffee like a professional, to discern its unique aromas and flavors. What smells on first blush like any other cup at first may reveal something far more nuanced, with undertones of honey, orange, hazelnuts, and even tobacco or rubber, depending on the quality of the beans and how they are roasted.
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