Whether arriving by land or by sea, visitors to Costa Rica often seek a coffee experience. It’s little wonder, considering the world-wide popularity of coffee and the contribution that this Central American nation makes to our global coffee culture. Even so, visitors here are often pleasantly surprised by the fun and education that they receive when they choose to take the Cafe Britt Coffee Tour. This is one of our favorite day trips from San Jose.
What to Expect
This fascinating tour is beyond the typical; just about 30 minutes from San Jose, guests arrive at the working farm in the middle highlands, of this lush tropical land to enjoy a renewing nature walk through verdant foliage, surrounded by tropical scents and sounds, capped with a lighthearted live stage play about working with coffee, the value of the crop, and life in Costa Rica.
Throughout the tour, visitors learn about the entire cycle; from a small, green bean, to your local coffee bar. A cupping demonstration lends enlightenment into what makes a coffee “gourmet” , and how to properly taste, detect and assess its characteristics.
Coffee means a lot to the people here, and is recognized as a major contributor to democracy of this nation, but more than that, it’s also a major thread through the cultural and economic tapestry of Costa Rica. This is all brought to life in a most enjoyable way throughout the tour, where visitors enjoy the unfolding story of two farm workers and how this precious bean has affected their lives. Like the Costa Rican people in general, these are warm, friendly people that are quick to share their pride-and story-with a dramatic flourish.
While it sounds like a lot of walking, this a leisurely-paced tour over easy terrain, and can easily be undertaken by anyone in good health. Families with children are not only welcome, but parents will appreciate the structure of the entire tour, as it easily entertains even those with short attention spans.
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Available Tour Packages
The Classic Coffee Tour includes a leisurely, but educational guided walk through the farm, with discussion of growing, harvesting, sustainability practices, and more, and includes a stop at the aromatic roasting plant. Following the walk, guests enjoy a witty live play, and then lunch at Don Prospero, the lovely on-site buffet restaurant. After lunch, spend some time to wander a little or buy coffee & more in the gift shop. This tour lasts approximately 1 1/2 hours.
The Cappuccino Tour is the same as the classic, but with an espresso presentation and demonstration, with instruction in making that perfect cup of espresso. Add an hour for the demonstration, for a total time of 2 1/2 hours.
The Coffee Lover’s Tour is for those that hunger for even more knowledge and coffee experience. This tour combines the Cappuccino tour with a ride to Tiera Madre, where guests visit the wet mill and enjoy a “cupping”, or coffee tasting. The mill adds an hour to the total time, for a time total of about 3 1/2 hours.
The drama is scheduled daily at 11:00AM, every day, all year long. In high season, from December through April, the show also runs at 3:00PM. All tours, presentations and discussion are conducted simultaneously in English and Spanish. Cafe Britt offers transportation from all of Costa Rica’s hotels, or transportation can be arranged locally. Most cruise lines offer pre-arranged shore excursions that may be purchased onboard.
Naturally, given the tropical climate, participants will want to wear cool, light, breathable clothing and certainly good walking shoes. A hat and sunblock are always recommended in tropical climates, too.
Guests should plan to take group transportation, not only for safety, but also for economy and logistics, too. If visiting from a cruise ship, take the excursion offered onboard rather than planning to “go it alone”, as any mishaps could leave passengers stranded. In such circumstances, it is far better to have the cruise line solve the problem.
This tour captures what travel is all about; despite the acting, it introduces visitors to real people and real situations. Sure, it may be a bit campy, but its fun and its real, and if taken for a good time in the volcanic Costa Rican jungle, the Cafe Britt Coffee Tour is well worth the time-and coffee.