Paraíso Things to Do
Here's where the coffee magic happens. The beans go through the roaster, and you can get them roasted light, medium, or dark. While in this roasting room, you can view the other machinery used. You'll also be treated to some fresh lemonade and chocolate-covered coffee beans if you are lucky.
His products are available for purchase here; I'd recommend doing so as many of shipments to local grocery stores are of lower quality. The higher quality products are often exported - i.e. the products you can order online.
A dutch girl looks on and touches the coffee beans that are drying in the sun post-skinning. They are layed out flat upon the floor of a tarped-over shelter.
Ernie does a great job of showing you all the parts of his farm and explain each process.
I took a tour of Finca Cristina, producer of the delicious arrabica coffee under the name of Café Cristina. The friendly American owner and his family have lived on this farm for more than 20 years. What makes this place so special is that they use organic processes to farm the crop. Ernie, the owner, will talk endlessly about his fertilizer and nitrogen-fixing trees if you let him. When he found out that the two ladies I was with and I were all from a science-background, he whipped out some extensive vocabulary and scientific terms.
I had never been on a coffee plantation before, so it was interesting to learn all about its production. Here he is demonstrating a very simple process; skinning the coffee beans prior to letting them dry in the sun. This technique has been around for years; you simply let the beans fall through a small hole and scrape against the side of a sharp wheel. The dense beans are retained and the skin falls through.
The only way to ride is in style, according to this guy. This was my taxi driver from hell. He rides around the streets of Paraíso in a tiny Hyundai. If you ever go here, I am sure you will see him driving by at some point. If you can't see him, you'll certainly hear him. I guarantee you he has spent more money on souping up his car than it cost to buy the thing. He is waiting at the top of the queue, so it is proper etiquette to take that car. I am with two other women who have big backpacks, and they are trying to fit them into the trunk. Seeing as it was full with two huge subwoofers, there was no way it was going to happen. So the bags went into the taxi with us. We rolled down the street, bouncing up and down to the blasting reggaeton. My head felt like it was going to burst. Our cab driver was also dressed for the part. He had a whole lot of fake gold chains and rings and goodness knows what else on. If they were all real, his head would have probably fell off due to the immense weight. If he ripped us off I would have disliked him immensely, but seeing as he was fair and just, I couldn't help but just laugh as we finally arrived at our destination. His car strolled through the tiny dirt roads at the outskirts of town, and his music made every living creature within a 5 mile radius howl in utter distaste.
Favorite thing: I hadn’t eaten all day, it was late afternoon, and the blazing sun was pounding down on me while up 2000 meters in the thin atmosphere. So you gotta rely on your surrounding resources. Who says leaves don’t taste good? Have a nibble; they are green, nutritious, and full of worms to give you that extra protein you are lacking. There’s even some coffee beans at the end of them. Mmm mmm.
Favorite thing: There is a technical name for this beautiful plant, and some American expatriate told me it. However latin species names don’t particularly stick in my head that easily, so I forgot it about 2 seconds later. This is why I need to carry a pen around with me at all times. Anyway, I much prefer the local name for this plant, Bandera Española – seeing as the plant is red, yellow, and green, just like the Spanish Flag, the name is perfectly fitting.
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