Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tarrazú - coffee, coffee everywhere!

Leaving the Central Valley behind!

We began our first full day in Costa Rica with an open-air breakfast in the Alajuela hotel, followed by a drive across the Central  Valley through the old capital city of Cartago, and up into the highlands to the Tarrazú coffee growing region. In the town of Santa Maria de Dota, surrounded by hillsides covered with coffee fields, we had lunch at the home of a local coffee farmer. In the afternoon we had a tour of the CoopeDota coffee mill and roaster in town (which included lessons in coffee tasting - and the chance to buy coffee directly from the cooperative) followed by a terrific barbecue dinner this evening. Spirits were high as everyone retired early in anticipation of a long day tomorrow  - we’ll get up for an early breakfast before heading out to explore some more coffee farms en route to the rainforest.

Checking out Dota coffee varieties
The group checking out the sun-dried coffee process
Coffee tasting at Dota

Visiting a coffee farm
Lunch in Santa Maria de Dota

On the bus!
The Expedition Fellows group, consisting of freshmen and sophomores from UW Tacoma, along with Peer Advisor Gloria Shin, had a chance tonight to meet a UWT graduate who is living in Costa Rica with his family for the next few years conducting research for his Ph.D. Levi Keesecker, who was an Environmental Science major, is now a graduate student at the University of Idaho in an interdisciplinary program that culminates in a two-year fieldwork stint in Costa Rica in conjunction with CATIE, a university in Turrialba that focuses on applied ecology & sustainable agriculture. The students had a chance to hear about Levi’s pathway to graduate school (including international experiences doing research in Costa Rica and Yucatan while an undergraduate at UWT) while enjoying tonight’s barbecue dinner – hopefully an inspiration for some as they learn more about opportunities available to them!

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