Our final day in San Jose, we decided to do a coffee plantation tour. Many of our friends had suggested going on the Britt tour (the largest of the Costa Rican Coffee sellers), but every person we spoke with in San Jose would huff about that tour and they all suggested doing the Three Generations Coffee tour at Doka Estates. Trusting the folks that have been making great suggestion to us so far, we decided to go with the Doka Estates tour.
Our favorite taxi driver, Nelson, drove us up the Poas volcano to the coffee plantation halfway up the mountain. San Jose is a pretty big city, so we were able to see many of the outlying areas of town, the hills and the large plantations and farms on the volcano.
The coffee plantation itself was great. We all learned a lot about coffee and how it is grown, harvested, dried and produced. We had a very good tour guide who spoke english and she guided us through the old school plantation. Virtually everything at the plantation was run by either human labor or water power, so it was cool to see modern coffee being produced in a traditional (and cost effective) way. I could tell the kids were paying close attention because they asked a ton of questions and after we finished out tour, Erin and I quizzed them at lunch and they knew almost every answer.
Highlights of the tour were the water propelled machines that sorted the beans into high, mid and low quality piles, the beans stacked floor to ceiling in large coffee bags in a huge warehouse, raking beans as they were drying on the large concrete slabs outside the sorting rooms and (of course) the coffee tasting at the end. We also learned that to create their decaffeinated version of coffee, the beans are sent to Germany where a company pulls the caffeine out of the beans and sends them back at no charge (other than shipping). That German company then sells the liquid caffeine to the soda makers back in the states. Who knew…
Overall, it was a fun tour and one I would recommend for families visiting San Jose.