Meet your guide in Old San Juan and travel by minivan or comfortable coach for an approximate 1.5-hour scenic drive into the mountains of Puerto Rico. Head south through the central ranges past the towns of Salinas, Santa Isabel and Juana Díaz until you reach Adjuntas, situated in the mountainous center of Puerto Rico. Learn about the area and its coffee history through onboard commentary as well as the use of a tablet. Upon arrival in the town center plaza, your guide will take you to Hacienda Melin, located about 15 minutes away.
At the main house terrace, meet a coffee farm host who will offer your group a brief history of this private coffee plantation, established in 1893 and still in production by a fourth generation of coffee growers who harvest Arabica coffee from its fields. As you listen, enjoy a freshly brewed cup of traditionally prepared black coffee with a homemade pastry, cake or fruit.
Before you walk to the coffee plot to try your hand at collecting the coffee cherries, your host will offer some useful tips about the picking experience and you’ll receive plastic gloves, coffee baskets or sacks, a hat, insect repellent, sunscreen lotion, a bottle of water and a head bandana. Then, head out to the fields for approximately 30 minutes and walk between the coffee plants – rain or shine – just as the coffee collectors do! (Be prepared for a bit of uneven or steep terrain.)
Afterward, find out who was the best coffee collector as the freshly harvested coffee cherries are weighed and then processed through a pulping machine to separate the skin and pulp from the bean. Then, sit down for a three-course meal with food products grown at the farm. (If lunch at Hacienda Melín is not possible, you’ll eat at Hacienda Mabó, about 15 minutes away.) Enjoy an appetizer or fresh salad or soup, a main course and dessert with coffee, accompanied by a soft drink or water.
After lunch, you’ll be driven to a family-owned coffee processing and roasting facility to learn about the entire spectrum of coffee production. Here, another local host will guide your group through a mechanized process that includes sorting and grading, storage, roasting and bagging the coffee beans. Your tour ends with return transport aboard the coach or minivan to San Juan.