Coffee And Cocoa In Costa Rica

Photo credit: www.gomio.com

Photo credit: http://www.gomio.com

Early the next morning, we packed our bags and loaded the van to continue our journey through Costa Rica.  Not too long into the ride, we stopped along Lake Arenal to take pictures of the gorgeous landscape that we would be traveling around for the majority of the day.  The girls and I rushed across the highway for better photos and it was more painful than I thought it could be.

10410142_10103230217001043_6341083043860437868_n

The girls and the lake: me, Miss Bliss, and Karen

The girls and the lake: me, Miss Bliss, and Karen

As I stood in the grass with nothing protecting my feet but flip flops, my toes began to burn.  At first, I didn’t think anything of it.  Just a little itch.  But then, the pain intensified and when I looked down, my tootsies we covered with typical black ants.  Except in Costa Rica, the ants are on steroids and those little buggers bite hard!

Back in the van, we traveled for hours along a bumpy road so rough, I wished I had worn a sports bra.  Just around the time when we just couldn’t take it anymore, we arrived in Monteverde at the Cloud Forest Lodge and were greeted with some pleasant surprises.

10377167_10103230219890253_9125661890624732202_n 10446453_10103230218877283_4536438053522548985_n 10462779_10103230221851323_4748324070114878456_nWith just a few short hours to eat lunch and relax, we were back in the van eager to start our next adventure.  This time, our adventure led us to the Don Juan Coffee Tour.

Let me be the first to say that I am not a huge coffee fan.  My family is addicted to the brewed bean, but I never really acquired a taste for the bitter beverage.  Nevertheless, when Papa Carlos told us about the tour, I was excited to learn all about coffee.

IMG_0809 IMG_0812 IMG_0815

The elusive ripe coffee berry.

The elusive ripe coffee berry.

IMG_0849

Sun-dried coffee beans

Sun-dried coffee beans

Karen tried her hand at grinding the beans.

Karen tried her hand at grinding the beans.

IMG_0865

We learned that Americans prefer the dark/burned roasts.

We learned that Americans prefer the dark/burned roasts.

IMG_0876In addition to learning the process of coffee-making, the tour also included lessons about cocoa and sugar cane.  Even better, we got to taste as we went.

Sun-dried cocoa beans

Sun-dried cocoa beans

The cocoa fruit

The cocoa fruit

I'm not gonna lie, this was sweet, but slimy.  Not something I would want to eat again, but monkeys love it.

I’m not gonna lie, this was sweet, but slimy. Not something I would want to eat again, but monkeys love it.

Bliss put some muscle into grinding the cocoa beans while Don Juan looked on.

Bliss put some muscle into grinding the cocoa beans while Don Juan looked on.

Unfinished chocolate: a little bitter.

Unfinished chocolate: a little bitter.

Finished chocolate mixed with sugar, cream, and chili pepper is delicious!

Finished chocolate mixed with sugar, cream, and chili pepper is delicious!

The family who toured with us had children who were eager to participate.  Luckily, they got the chance when it came time to press the juice out of the sugar cane to create a delicious cocktail with a little lime juice added.  A lot of work went into getting the juice out of the sugar cane, but it was well worth it.

IMG_0892The tour concluded with a hysterical ride on a cart pulled by bulls.  Why was it hysterical?  Well, one of the bulls decided to relieve himself during the ride and a panicked mother was afraid that it was going to be projectile all over her daughter.  We laughed until tears streamed down our faces.

10271601_10103300814967153_3881002478620907894_n 10302020_10202227970082666_2488472131282981438_n

Once the tour was wrapped up, we headed into the town of Santa Elena to grab some snacks and souvenirs before making our way back to the Cloud Forest Lodge.

With the evening free, Karen, Bliss, and I decided that a hike was just the thing to wind ourselves down.  Plus, Bliss had spotted a furry creature earlier in the day, but no one else had seen it so this was our chance to hunt the little guy down.  Fireflies illuminated the sky and the sun set behind the mountains making it the perfect ending to the day.

IMG_0912 IMG_0915 IMG_0916

Too bad we never found that creature.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Coffee And Cocoa In Costa Rica

  1. jansenschmidt says:

    Oh more fun times south of the border. I am not a coffee drinker either, for the same reason, I don’t like the taste or smell of it. When my husband and I toured a coffee plantation in Hawaii, he was finally excited about being the only one to taste – it’s usually me who’s doing the tasting because we usually tour vineyards and he doesn’t drink. Or a rum or whiskey tour – same scenario.

    I wish you’d have seen the furry creature. That would have been cool. Wonder what it was?

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  2. deannasallao says:

    hey there! i’m loving your recent posts!
    I also blogged about The Ultimate Guide for a Stress-Free #PreparationforVacation. I would also like to ask how do you prepare for your much-awaited vacation? Do you just pack-and-go? or you want everything to be organized?

    here’s what my recent post is all about…
    http://talkaboutbeauty.co/2014/08/18/stress-free-preparationforvacation/

    would be so nice to hear from you! 🙂

    cheers! xx

    deanna ( http://www.talkaboutbeauty.co )

    • Jessica | Defining Wonderland says:

      Thank you, Deanna! It’s been a lot of fun reliving the trip. As far as my own travel preparation, I’m pretty much a pack-and-goer and I can confirm that I left out several items I wish I had brought with me. I like the itinerary of the trip to be organized beforehand, but I do like the spontaneous adventures (like the evening hike). I think the best advice I can give anyone who wants to travel is to be flexible and enjoy every experience.

Don't let me do all the blogging, join in the conversation. Otherwise, I just feel like I'm talking to myself...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s