Enjoying coffee tours in Costa Rica

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Want to take part in some of the best coffee tours in Costa Rica? Below, we profile four of the best locales within this small Central American nation where you can see where your daily cuppa comes from…

Monteverde

Located up on the misty plateau near Costa Rica’s continental divide, a number of coffee plantations provide the perfect way to add some perk to your day before tackling the nature trails and zip lines that are found in abundance here.

Many of the tours here go over the history of cultivation in the area, and once you get to the production, you’ll see how the beans from which coffee is derived is picked, dried and processed. While the focus here is on coffee, chocolate and sugar cane processing is also done here, allowing you the opportunity to sample both of these food crops as well as the outstanding dark roast that is created here.

Heredia

Want to go on a tour where the people running it really know their stuff? Then head up to Heredia and visit the Classic Britt plantation, where high quality java has been grown for over thirty years. There is much focus here on sustainability, as they will be eager to impart to you on the tour.

The on site restaurant, aside from pouring the finest cups from the beans sewn from their field, also dishes up authentic Costa Rican cuisine, making it the perfect place to sample some of this nation’s culinary heritage.

Alajuela

Located close to Costa Rica’s largest international airport (thereby making it a great activity to do on your last day in the country), the Doka Estate Coffee Plantation makes the most of the rich, loamy soils that can be found at the base of the Poas Volcano by growing some of the finest beans in the nation. |

This has been a very productive spot since the beginning of coffee cultivation in the 19th century, as the factory that processes the picked crop is so old that is was officially recognized as an Architectural Heritage for Humanity by the government in 2003.

Naranjo

Located on the road to Arenal, which is one of Costa Rica’s most famous volcanoes, the Espiritu Santo Coffee Tour will put you in touch with farmers that produce the seeds that go into the fair trade gournet coffee that you purchase at outlets like Starbucks and Caribou Coffee Company.

Owned and operated by a cooperative, their efforts go into creating a high quality product that consistently hits benchmarks for the most discerning of importers, as well as maintaining metrics that help preserve the integrity of the environment of which this operation is a part.

Top cafes in Edinburgh

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Spending time in Scotland’s capital this summer? The top cafes in Edinburgh will give you the rest you need between the many attractions that this storied city has to offer, while refueling you with some of its best food and caffeinated drink. Let’s dive right into it, yes?

1) Union of Genius

Edinburgh may be a cool place to visit, but this descriptor often refers to its weather as well, even during the summer on occasion. Should you run across one of those days, dropping in on Union of Genius will set you right.

Specializing in soups, the cooks behind the counter take pride in creating six different pots of inside-warming goodness on a daily basis. And what bowl of soup is any good without a chunk of quality bread to go with it? Union of Genius provides all of its patrons with a slice off its artisan-baked loaves, making for a satisfying lunch that pairs well with a cup of eteaket tea or their in-house roasted coffee.

2) Project Coffee

Located in Brunsfield, a thriving neighborhood chock full of indy shops and restaurants, Project Coffee makes for an excellent pit stop during a weekend afternoon of shopping and socializing. With a modern light industrial theme that actually feels quite charming, this joint feels like a hip place.

They do breakfast in grand fashion, and during other parts of the day, its desserts make for a sweet moment of solace amid the hustle and bustle of the streets beyond its front doors. Project Coffee has trained their baristas well, as they craft their cups of latte, cappuccino and other variants of coffee with a milk and temperature balance that put the big chains to shame.

3) Pep and Fodder

Feeling like a NYC deli plopped in the middle of Scotland’s capital, Pep and Fodder not only does sandwiches and paninis well, but it makes for a great place to grab breakfast, a snack, or a quick cup of quality joe, whether you are on the way to Edinburgh Castle or your office cubicle.

Unlike NYC, the charm of Scotland is in full effect here, as the people behind the counter lack the usual over-dosage of saltiness that usually comes from deli experiences back in the former city.

4) Café Portrait

Love art as much as you enjoy your third cup of the day? If so, mix both together at Cafe Portrait, which is Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s resident coffee joint. Complete with pop art in between the aged Gothic windows, the atmosphere here is enough to make you want to linger longer than you planned, as its soup, salads, sweets, coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages will give you plenty of reason to hang out with your friends as you discuss everything you just saw in the halls of this venerable Scottish cultural institution.

Top four museums in Paris for dedicated culture lovers

photo by CC user Benh LIEU SONG on wikimedia

Paris has long attracted creative types with its love for all things beautiful, and while the glory days have since faded away, the legacy of that amazing time in its history remain for all to enjoy. These top four museums in Paris will give you a sense of how much the French valued (and continue to value) visual expression in the course of their daily lives. Continue reading