Today started with a wake up at 8 by our leader of the day Amelia. We ate a nice breakfast and boarded the bus to go to a coffee bean, sugarcane, and cacao bean plantation. When we arrived, Cooper showed us a new game called D.A.G.S. The premise of the game is you have to throw a hacky sack without it touching the ground three times before someone catches it. If you get hit 4 times you’re out. Will was really skilled at the game, despite being the first person to get eliminated.
We met our guide named Anthony who spoke about all of the products that El Trapiche, which is a family run, small business, exported and sold locally. El Trapiche’s goal is not to outcompete large corporations that make sugar, chocolate and coffee but to brew and craft the best products possible. Costa Roca is he 17th largest exporter of coffee but inside of the top 5 raking best tasking coffee. First, he talked about locally grown plants that were not harvested at a large scale because of difficulty to prepare into dishes. Next, The group traversed the path through the many trees to arrive at many coffee stations where Anthony discussed the harvesting and processing process of the two main coffee beans; El Trapiche mainly produces the more difficult although better tasting bean in order to ensure quality amongst its product. The group learned about how workers were paid by the basket; In which Costa Rican workers are paid double Nicaraguan workers which causes them to flock to Costa Roca for jobs. We also learned about the seven layers inside of the coffee bean which can diversify and enhance flavour depending on how many are stripped from the bean. Courtney and Stella intently listened to him as he rattled off the information. After the coffee section of the tour, we moved onto the chocolate production area; there, Anthony introduced us into the fermentation and processing of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. He explained what the three types of chocolate bar should be made of which included different variations of cacao powder, cacao butter, milk, and sugar. Anthony showed the different machines that were used to create chocolate; He eventually let us taste the chocolate that was produced there and Maddie and Grace agreed it was the best chocolate that they’ve ever eaten. Lastly, the group moved onto the final part of the tour: the sugar cane interactive exhibit. There, we learned how sugar canes were grown effectively. Once we know about the farming process we are raw sugar cane and learned how the sugary juice inside of the cane was separated from the other byproducts. Once we knew how they got the main resource used for creating sugar, we battered the substance with pairs of two and created our own delicious candy! we s also let us eat coffee beans, cacao fruit, sugarcane, and dark + white chocolate. Dash took 4 pieces of sugarcane. Anthony brought us to lunch of salad, chicken, beans, rice, and a drink made from sugarcane. Afterwards he gave us coffee and more chocolate that was amazing. We went to the store there and got a lot of final day souvenirs. When everyone was done we almost left without Rose because she was taking so long. Once we started driving, Quinn took over control of the music. We pulled over on the side of the road to say goodbye to the green hills of Monteverde and have a quick photo shoot with our trusty coaster bus and our heroic driver Gabelo!
People used Nathalie’s camera to take photos of everyone. Henry, Jude, and Ellie basically slept through everything. Following our bus cruise, we had an hour in our new, spiffy hotel rooms to prepare for our night on the town… or, rather, the mall. Everybody got to select their meal from a bountiful food court, which we wolfed down because WE GOT TICKETS FOR THE BARBIE MOVIE!
We had an in-depth evening meeting tonight to reflect on the trip and share some last laughs. Edge had the wonderful idea to put everybody in the hot seat for a “honey roast”. We hugged it out in the end and said a special goodbye to Jude who leaves extremely early in the morning. It’s been such an amazing trip and we cannot wait to fill you all in about our crazy adventures when we get home. ¡Pura Vida!