Javi the Frog inspecting roasted coffee
Javi the Frog inspecting roasted coffee

It's no secret that coffee is one of Central America's most important crops and exports. However, if you've ever wondered how your morning cup of joe gets from the rolling hills of Costa Rica to your cup, come with me and let's find out on the Espiritu Santos Coffee Tour in Naranjo!

Start the day off right

One of the main reasons that coffee is such an abundant crop in Alajuela is the area's natural landscape. At more than 4,000 feet and nestled between two volcanoes, conditions in Naranjo are perfect for growing coffee!

When you first sign up for the tour, you'll begin your journey at the "El Mirador" ranch in Naranjo. What better way is there to start the tour than with a delicious cup of freshly brewed coffee from Espiritu Santo's plantation? Here, you'll meet your guides and learn about the history of the tour before setting off to the next stage of your caffeinated adventure.

Seedling station

Until I arrived at Espiritu Santos, I didn't know that before coffee beans can be harvested, they have to be specially grown from seedlings. At the seedling station, you'll learn about the various stages of the coffee plant's growth at Santos' nursery demonstration. I never knew there was so much to learn about coffee!

Javi the Frog next to coffee dried beans
Javi the Frog next to coffee dried beans

After discovering more about the humble coffee bean, you'll get to see some authentic, hand painted Costa Rican ox-carts. Today, plantation workers use trucks to transport their shipments of beans, but in the olden days, ox-carts (carretas in Spanish) were the only way that farmers could get their crops to the market. These colorful carts are an iconic part of Costa Rican culture, and even with today's technology, the coffee experts at Espiritu Santos haven't forgotten their roots.

Javi the Frog next to typical Ox Cart
Javi the Frog next to typical Ox Cart

Wet mill and roasting room

The next stage of the tour is the wet mill and roasting room. Here, you'll see how the harvested beans are carefully prepared to preserve the full-bodied flavor that Naranjo coffee is famous for. As you watch, Espiritu Santos team of coffee experts will peel, select, dry and store the beans for shipment.

After this, you'll have the chance to see how Costa Rican coffee farmers used to live hundreds of years ago in an authentic recreation of a plantation farmhouse, before sampling some of the freshly prepared coffee for yourself!

Javi making friends at coffee factory
Javi making friends at coffee factory