Coffee is one of my favorite beverages and I attribute it to my being part Dominican. Ever since I was little, I’ve been immersed in the coffee culture of that rich aroma and savory dark flavor. As a child I enjoyed cafe con leche (coffee with milk) and of course it was sweetened to my childhood liking with plenty of sugar. Today as an adult, I still enjoy coffee every morning. In the US I make it with a French Press and when in the Dominican Republic, as I am while writing this post, I enjoy it made in the greca. My favorite coffee is from Monte Alto, which I visit every time I am in the Dominican Republic. Recently, I visited once again and was happy to see that they continue to grow and excel in producing excellent coffee.Monte Alto is owned by Ramirez Coffee and located in the beautiful mountain town of Jarabacoa. Centered in the middle of the island, the coffee factory sits on the town’s main river, just on the other side from the busy action of the town-center. The other week I visited with my brother Mark and we got a tour with Yacosta (forgive me if I am not spelling that correctly), one of the employees of the company. Tours are given to the public all throughout the day for people visiting.
We were shown how they tell that the beans are ready and the process that they go through of being washed, dried, and sorted. It requires much more than that, but I’m going to allow the pictures to speak for themselves. I am no coffee expert, but I greatly appreciate whatever is involved in the process that is required for producing delicious coffee. From what I witnessed, I believe it to be such a labor of love that ties together the land and the people. My favorite part of the tour is towards the end, where women sit along a conveyor belt of coffee beans, sorting out the good beans by hand. We asked why there were only women and not men working this line…the answer was that women are more attentive and detailed, as well as more precise and quick with their hands. It made us chuckle, but I think it makes sense.
Most of the beans sold are sold before they are roasted and companies throughout the world then roast them according to their roasting styles and in their own locations. Then the other coffee beans that are roasted are packaged within the factory itself, varying from their organic beans to their premium normal beans, and sold in locations in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere.
On site is also a quaint wooden-structured cafe that serves their coffees and, if you feel so inclined, ice-cold cerveza as well. The beers are not the only thing served cold though. Since the weather is typically hot in this tropical paradise, they also serve iced-coffees too…a new style of coffee for Dominicans. By the time we made it to the cafe, we were eager to enjoy some cool drinks and get to taste the heavenly aroma of coffee that tempted us throughout our tour. It was a great experience and we highly recommend it to visitors for another way to experience the local people and culture.
Enjoy more pictures by visiting my online album: A Tour of Ramirez Coffee Company