As I was sitting at the breakfast table this morning, absently watching the birds eat and drinking my coffee, I got to thinking about some of the best coffees I've had and how I happened to acquire a taste for them. In our travels around the world we have been to at least 3 coffee growing countries that have been memorable.
The first was when we visited Kenya. We went to a tea farm and then a coffee farm. We saw how the coffee was grown and roasted in the sun which gave it a most delicious flavor which I still love. If I get an opportunity to buy Kenyan coffee I always do but of course drinking it in Nairobi was the best! Nairobi is probably one of my most favorite places that I have visited. I don't know how it is now as we were there in the 1970's. It was a beautiful city with jacaranda trees in full bloom in the center of the streets and the bouganveillia in full bloom all over the city, too. The people were extremely friendly and we had a lovely visit.
Another country known for its coffee that we visited was Jamaica. The most famous Jamaican coffee comes from the Blue Mountains and some of it is very expensive--like $14 per pound! We did not get into the Blue Mountains or visit a coffee farm there but we did visit some farms that grew some coffee along with other crops. We even saw a farm that grew cocao (chocolate). I tried some fresh raw chocolate and it was horrible! Nothing like what we are used to. It was a kind of nut that had white flesh and was sort of juicy but very bitter and I think they said it was not good to try to eat very much of it (as I was spitting out what I had tried!). At the end of our farm tour a man was selling Blue Mountain coffee at a reasonable price so I got some. It was probably a rip off but it wasn't bad. It wasn't particularly outstanding either but I used mine up and I guess those that I bought it for did too.
The last place we visited was when we went on our cruise through the Panama Canal. We spent a day in Costa Rica and the main part of that day was at the Cafe Britt coffee farms. They are very tourist oriented with tour guides that put on quite a show about the history of coffee and particularly Costa Rican coffee. Cafe Britt is an American owned farm and they have changed the way coffee is grown and marketed in all of Costa Rica in the past few years. Not sure how long ago but in recent times. We got to go out and rake the coffee beans as they dried and got the whole tour of the facility. Then we were served a lovely buffet luncheon and then of course we were allowed to visit their store and buy our coffee. Part of the tour included a demonstration on how to make the perfect cup of coffee and I learned something new. You should never pour boiling water over your coffee as you are making it! You bring the water to a boil and let it sit a minute or so and then pour it over the coffee. They explained why but I have forgotten! What kind of a teacher am I anyway? I guess retirement has made me soft! Anyway, their coffee was delicious and if I ever run across some Cafe Britt coffee from Costa Rica, I will certainly get it!
I used to drink my coffee black and strong but since I got my lapband I have to drink it kind of weak and with cream. I never used to like "frou frou" coffee either but Starbucks and all the other places with their Lattes and Cappacinos have won me over. I love caramel lattes but mochas and all kinds of mixtures work for me too. I hate how expensive they are but I still drink them and they feel so good on my lapband!
Here are some pictures from Costa Rica and the Cafe Britt.