I’ve never seen such flora and fauna diversity as I did in Costa Rica! One woman we spoke to, a dedicated birder from Ohio, expected to see 100 new types of birds while there. When we met her, she had already seen 350 different species on her Birding Eco Tour and was still in shock. She promised to send us some of her photos and I hope she remembers to do it. She saw what is considered the most beautiful bird in the world, the Resplendent Quetzal, but didn’t get a photo of it with her camera. Costa Rica’s biggest revenue producer is tourism followed by pineapples, bananas, coffee, and ornamental plants. Ruth and I focused on its 4th biggest moneymaker, coffee, because we love it. Coffee is the reason why we went to Franco in Barrio Escalante.
Most of Costa Rica’s coffee plants are in its Central Valley, where harvesting occurs between November and March. Our Lonely Planet, which claims to be the #1 best selling guide to this country, listed several coffee plantations, like Coopedota, which can be visited, and recommended activities that include coffee processing, like the Don Juan Coffee Tour, but we only had time for Franco, a not-very-Starbucks-like shop in an interesting San José neighborhood. Franco opened in 2017. Starbucks, by the way, has a Costa Rican coffee farm in the shadow of the Poas Volcano called Hacienda Alscia. Holland America Cruise Line called it Starbuck’s “first and only coffee farm” and offered a tour of it, but we were unable to go ashore that day due to bad weather.
We bought 2 mild to medium Costa Rican coffees at Franco, and both of them are sensational. We sampled coffees while visiting and have drunk La Pastora the last 2 mornings. It’s so good that we still haven’t opened Mieles Tio Oscar. We hope to find some local sources of Costa Rican coffee in the coffee-crazed Northwest. If we don’t succeed, we’ll order from Franco’s website. Co-owner Cesar, told us that Franco will have an improved website up by the end of January with lots of information about this valuable Costa Rican commodity.
Ruth and I love food and drink adventures. We visited San José’s Mercado Central but, sad to say, didn’t buy what Lonely Planet calls “super cheap” coffee beans. Our best food was in a restaurant called Nuestra Tierra where we ate Casado, a local meal that wasn’t on the menu.
ps That’s a super-colorful Costa Rican coffee wagon currently in San José’s international airport above and a local orchid below.