An educational trip to Costa Rica gives students and teachers the chance to learn in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. However, it’s not just the rainforests and nature reserves that offer the chance to explore STEAM topics.
On a coffee plantation tour, you can steep yourself in learning about the intricacies of agriculture, manufacturing, and economics in Central America.
One of the country’s most popular coffee tours for student groups is offered at the Doka Estate, which is located in the coffee capital of Sabanilla, Alajuela. The plantation belongs to the Vargas Ruiz family who have been pioneers of coffee production in Costa Rica for more than 70 years.
The tour is lead by an expert guide who uses the grounds and facilities of this active Estate to teach about the climate, ecology, production, and distribution of coffee.
Costa Rica has a large variety of microclimates and altitudes within a small land area. These factors influence the agricultural production in the area.
Specific to the coffee bean, your guide will explain how the different climatic factors influence the flavour and the taste of the coffee.
Tours include a visit to the Seedling Station, where students discover the step-by-step process of seed germination through the point of recollection of the ripe grain for planting.
Hear how the production and varieties of plants have changed over the years and the ways the geography of the area and the traditional ways of cultivating the grain have evolved. Also discuss the importance of social and ecological responsibility.
The Vargas family has been at the forefront o modernizing coffee production. Your guide will pass on their expertise about the ins and outs of agricultural production, including the importance of managing harvesting times of the fruit, natural methods of crop protection, jobs responsibilities, and process management. All of these factors and many more must be coordinated to produce the high quality coffee people around the globe enjoy each day from the Doka Estate - a true lesson on global interdependence.
The Estate is home to the oldest wet mill in Costa Rica and its accompanying machinery. Tour the facility that has been at work for more than 120 years and experience how machinery has revolutionized this industry. You also will learn each of the stages of the process, including the separation of qualities, peeling, fermentation tanks, and drying off the beans, as well as the chemistry and the mechanisms used. If you’re up to the task, grab a rake and work the harvest on the drying field.
Learn about the decisions that must be made in order to preserve the freshness of the product, such as the expulsion valve that allows for the release of gases - something most consumers might not consider when opening a package at home. Also learn how design and labeling for international markets are important to global sales.
6. Roasting Room
Captivate your senses and discover the secrets behind the aroma, texture and taste of each variety of Tres Generaciones Coffee. Taste the Estate’s coffee and famous chocolates in the tasting room decorated with art related to the coffee experience, which makes it a STEAM expereince as well.
7. Sales and Marketing
Learn about the economics of this thriving Costa Rican industry that exports 90% of its local production to international markets through direct sales and other distribution channels. The Internet has changed business at the Estate, opening up new markets for the beans and coffee products, allowing for increased growth capacity.
There are so many amazing experiences that naturally lend themselves to STEAM learning in Costa Rica as well as other student-friendly destinations that make it easy to Exceed Curriculum Standards with hands-on experiences.