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Midway between Heredia and Barva is the finca and beneficio of Café Britt (tel. 506/2277-1600, www.coffeetour.com), where you can learn the story of Costa Rican coffee from the plantation to the cup. The company, which roasts, packs, and exports to specialty stores around the world, welcomes visitors to its coffee fields and garden.
Vastly entertaining tours are offered, led by staff in traditional country costumes and highlighted by a “Flavors of Costa Rica” multimedia presentation telling the history of coffee.
The 90-minute Classic Coffee Tour (9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., and 3 p.m. mid-Dec.–Apr.; 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily May–mid-Dec., $25 pp or $35 with transportation) concludes in the tasting room, where you are shown how experts taste coffee.
The four-hour Coffee Lover’s Tour (11 a.m., $40 pp or $50 with transportation) includes a visit to the company’s historic Beneficio Tierra Madre, above San Rafael de Heredia, about six kilometers northeast of Heredia; it is also open to individual visits by prior arrangement (tel. 506/2277-1600, www.beneficiotierramadre.com).
Here, at Costa Rica’s first certified organic-only beneficio, you can witness firsthand the processing of coffee in a facility adorned with exquisite murals by the nation’s leading artists. A coffee-bush maze was being created at last visit, and an open-air coffee museum will have live theater.
There’s a cinema for private events, and more in-depth private tours are offered by reservation. The factory store offers mail-order delivery to the United States. It has an elegant gourmet restaurant.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition