Part 1...El Toledo Coffee Tour...A farming experience unlike any other...

Purple flowers on white vines located on the El Toledo Coffee Farm.
"Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica"

A same or similar Woodpecker stopped by again for a visit.
Today, there's just not enough hours in the day to present our entire story and photos from our tour of El Toledo Coffee Tour.  As a result, we'll share photos of this tour over the next few days, explaining the informational and educational experience we had with Gabriel, the coffee plantation's owner.

While Gabriel spoke to the eight of us on his passion for coffee farming, his mother brewed three roasts for us, each a mystery from which we chose our favorite; light, medium and dark.  Tom and I both chose the light roast which ultimately, explained Gabriel, contains the greatest amount of caffeine, much to our surprise.
Shortly, we're leaving for the village to return the rental car and do our weekly grocery shopping.  Tom will hang out in the cafe to wrap up the rental car return with Edgar and later chat with locals who stop by for coffee and easy morning chatter.

With this morning's late start and a multitude of distractions, I'm behind a full two hours from my usual starting-to-post time.  What a busy week we've had while making the most of every moment while we've had the rental car.

We were served coffee in these tiny cups, perfect for sipping the fine coffee.
Having spent the bulk of the five-day period out and about sightseeing, we have enough photos and stories to keep us going through the next nine days until we have a rental car again to repeat the same process over and again.

Tom's eye widened when plates of these vanilla wafers were placed on the table.  Politely, he ate only three or four.
The highlight of the week's activities, although all were worthwhile, was Thursday's tour of El Toledo Coffee farm located on a mountainous road about 25 minutes from the villa. 

Gabriel explained the different roasts which attribute to the varying degrees of flavor and caffeine.  Again, we were shocked to discover that dark roast, although possessing a stronger taste has the least caffeine, contrary to what most of us believe.
According to "maps" the drive to El Toledo, as the crow flies appears to be only about 15 to 20 minutes. But once on the steep winding mountain roads, often behind trucks and slow moving vehicles, the travel time is considerably greater.

We all had an opportunity to sample his delicious coffee "wine," one white and the other a deep red.  The red was delicious, tasting like a fine port.  How surprising.
Finding this location is tricky.  It's only by using "maps" with "her" saying "You've arrived at your destination" we found the rough rocky muddy road necessary to navigate to enter the farm.  There's no off-site parking so it's that particular driveway or none. 

During the daily rain storms, the driveway was muddy and tough to maneuver even for the most adept of drivers like Tom.  He took him time, fearing he'd damage the rental car.  He did fine and we arrived and left unscathed.

In the lush canopy, even the simplest of plants are stunning.
We'd arrived 40 minutes earlier than the scheduled tour at 2:00 pm, allowing us ample time to interview Gabriel.  This gave us a great opportunity to get to know about his family, (we met his mother, father, and an aunt) while we easily grasped his dedication to healthful, ecologically and environmentally-friendly farming.  We'll discuss more on this in tomorrow's follow-up story.

A frame containing various butterflies.
Six other tourists joined us a short time later for the scheduled tour all of whom were 20-somethings, three young women from Arizona and another woman and two men from Germany and the Netherlands.

Here again, another yellow Lollipop flower.
Not only did Gabriel (who speaks excellent English) share his unique take on organic vs. non-organic farming but he explained many aspects of his family farm differing in regard to most coffee farming in Costa Rica and throughout the world. 

Tucked away in the deep vegetation, I spotted this pretty pink flower.
With mine and Tom's mutual interest in farming and agriculture throughout the world, Gabriel's perspective left us reeling over an entirely new spectrum of education we had yet to pursue.  Tomorrow we'll be posting a coffee roasting video we took during the roasting process.

On the steep and muddy path through the coffee farm, we encountered a wide array of plants and flowers.
As time has marched on this morning, it's time for me to wrap this up and get dressed in street clothes for our trip into the village.  It sure is easy to spend the better part of each day wearing a swimsuit but a trip into town does require a bit of added coverage.

A creek running along the narrow road up into the mountains where El Toledo Coffee Tour is located.
We hope your weekend is filled with pleasant surprises!

Photo from one year ago today, September 9, 2016:

Balinese food truck.  For more photos from Bali, please click here.


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