|A burro! Just like in the old Juan Valdez commercials|
But first it was time to pack up and say good-bye to the Hotel del Campo outside Quimbaya. It was a beautiful, albeit isolated hotel out in the middle of farm country.
|Hotel Del Campo|
|A parrot! In a tree!|
|Entrance to RECUCA|
|A cat. On a saddle.|
We saw coffee plants:
|Baby fetal coffee plants|
|A view of the coffee plant covered hillside|
And why is Colombian coffee the richest in the world? Arabica beans. Arabica coffee will grow only between 1000m and 2000m above sea level. So they don't grow cheap, nasty, bitter low-elevation Robusta like they do in Brazil (World's #1 coffee producer) or Vietnam (#2). They don't sun dry the Arabica like the Brazilians or Africans who grow Arabica do.
From there, it was time to learn about coffee processing. And while those cheap nasty Brazilian and Vietnamese knock-off coffees can be harvested by machine, Colombian coffee must be hand-picked. And that the first step in coffee processing: the picking. I was directed to go out into the fields and hand-pick only the best, the richest Colombian coffee, which I did:
|Dressed in my coffee-picking clothes|
|Assisted by a young man in the traditional Juan Valdez costume|
And the next step was separating the bean from the pulp of the coffee cherry. Originally this was done mortar and pestle style. Then this ingenious machine was invented to separate them with the turn of a crank. I'm not sure how it worked, but it did.
|Cranking the separatin' machine|
|Coffee being dried|
And that concluded the organized touring part of La Gran Aventura. I was then driven to the Armenia bus station and put on a bus bound for the big city of Medellín, my final stop on this nearly-completed trip through Colombia.