The day today started early with excitement for our “free-day” activity. After a pancake breakfast we headed to Antigua to Filadelfia Coffee Plantation where the team split in two and one group went to experience the Guatemalan Canopy Tour and the other group to a history tour of the Coffee Plantation.
The zip line group travelled 20 minutes by truck to the top of the mountain (8000feet elevation), where we had a phenomenal view of two volcanoes – one active and one inactive. It was a spectacular view! The journey to the top of the mountain was filled with anticipation and nerves … Juli quickly earned the nickname “Pollo” (which means chicken) by all of the tour guides.
The Filadelphia Coffee Plantation was 600 acres, and owed 4th generation in the same family. Some interesting facts that we learned are:
- · 152 beans to make 1 cup of coffee
- · from picking to packaging is a 6 week process
- · every plant is grafted by 3 women because they have a higher alkaline pH than men (grafting success rate is better for women)
- · the lowest quality of beans are used for instant coffee
- · beans are hand picked individually and sorted into 3 grades
- · the medium sized beans produce the best coffee
We ended our tour with the best coffee in the entire world and we will never look at coffee the same way again.
We then travelled up another mountain to the Mountain Restraunt that overlooks Antigua and the beautiful panoramic volcano view. We invited Carlos and Cecii (our interpreters) to join us for lunch. We enjoyed traditional Guatemalan dishes, good laughs and great company. It was an experience unto itself.
We spent the rest of the afternoon sightseeing Antigua, enjoying the markets, bartering, appreciating the arts and crafts of the locals. It was quite a hustle and bustle of activity and we all appreciated to see a different way of life in Guatemala (other than what we have been seeing).
We came home to a wonderful dinner that Carmen prepared for us. We are all exhausted and ready for bed – tomorrow is a BUSY day! Stay tuned – and thanks for reading!
Juli Conard-Myers, Brian Jones