When Christopher Columbus traveled across the ocean in search of riches, he found breathtaking coasts that made him think there must lie many more riches in the beautiful environment. Therefore, he named this newly found land “Costa Rica,” or “Rich Coast”. One example of this, is that Costa Rica provides many agricultural resources that thrive in the rich volcanic soils. One of these resources is coffee, as you may know.
The production of coffee was explained to me by well-educated program provider, Esteban Lopez, during my first excursion to a coffee plantation upon my arrival to Costa Rica. Before I got here, I was so excited to pick my own coffee beans, then disappointed to find out that the coffee harvest season is between November and February. You can actually get paid to go coffee bean picking!
You only pick the red, cherry-like beans, because these are the ripe beans; the green ones are not ready yet. Then the beans are peeled; on the inside they look a translucent greenish/whitish color. It is very interesting that this becomes our brown coffee bean. The beans are then dried in the sun for about 22 days. They are removed at night and put back out during the day. The beans are then roasted in a machine – the roasting process differs depending on their type of roast.
An interesting factis that for decaf coffee, Costa Rica sends the beans to Germany to extract the sugar, because this is what contains the caffeine. The German companies use it for medicinal purposes or send it to soda companies. The decaffeinated coffee is then sent back to Costa Rica for distribution.
I find this natural process very interesting and I was glad to have had a first-hand experience about coffee production in a country that relies heavily on this form of agriculture for their economy.