When the temperature dips and the summer sun becomes a distant memory, it’s time to plan an escape. Your solution might be right in front of you if you are warming your hands with a steaming mug of coffee; head straight to the source, visit an organic coffee plantation.
That’s what Sweetie and I did when we visited Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort in Santa Barbara de Heredia, Costa Rica. Just minutes from the San Jose airport, this little gem is a locavore’s dream destination. We also think it’s the perfect place to begin or end a longer visit to anywhere else in Costa Rica.
The temperate climate means that you will need neither heater nor air conditioner during your stay at this eco-friendly inn where sustainability, hospitality, privacy, and luxury are all seamlessly integrated. When traveling, I like to eat fresh native foods, visit farms and conservation sites, support independent businesses, and learn whatever the gracious locals will share. This location hits everything on my wish list.
Artist owners Teri and Glenn Jampol are visionaries and the Inn has the highest rating in Costa Rica for sustainable tourism (5 green leaves). Their lifework is a testimony to creating a profitable business that gives back to the community on a daily basis. Each room reservation includes an onsite sustainability tour called The Green Scene to let you in on their efforts.
Throughout the architecturally rich property, meandering garden paths are lined with lush, indigenous plants and occasional benches for reflection. Whatever time of day, the views of the central valley mountain highlands are extraordinary. In the evenings, from your table at onsite restaurant, El Tigre Vestido & Bar Búho, the twinkling lights of the capital city provide an intimate romantic setting.
While visiting, be sure to take a guided tour of the shade grown coffee plantation. You will learn about Arabica coffee and much more. The guides are knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and take pride in sharing their resources. Local vegetation plays a key role in shade grown coffee and we learned that banana trees are annuals, producing fruit just once, and the inside of the trunks smell a bit like cucumber. Who knew?
We learned about the selection of ripe berries, the fruit surrounding the coffee bean, and about the harvest and the workers. We saw the farm’s beneficio (processing mill) and flat, suspended beds of sun-dried beans. Finca Rosa Blanca has earned the distinction of estate coffee, meaning that they care for the bean during every phase of the growing, processing, and roasting process.
After the walking tour, the flavors and aromas of the coffee are explored in a unique cupping experience. You can even compare the difference between natural roasting and sugar-added techniques of BigCoffee producers.
Remember to ask the concierge to reserve the special tasting menu for your dinner party. Chef Oscar Rojas Picado masterfully prepares meals utilizing organic produce from the gardens and proteins from trusted local sources. Each course in his special menu features their coffee as a key ingredient—and I promise, it is swoon-worthy.
A moonlight stroll back to your villa or suite prepares you for sweet slumber between bamboo linen sheets. Nightly turn-down service guarantees that your room has already been re-stocked with their fabulous coffee for morning salutations.
Refill your mug and restore your soul at the same time. Book a trip.
Amy Huggins-Gaw, Epicurean Contributor