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The first two weeks of April I will be in Quepos (mid Pacific coast) Costa Rica and hope to visit a cacao fermentation operation. There appear to be many tourist demonstrations but I am seeking a more technical, "hands-on" exposure to commercial fermentation. Any introductions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.

Tags: Costa, Fermentation, Rica

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CATIE in cartago should be able to help you out.  You'll likely have to do some level of driving to find it (it's unlikely they'll bring the fermentation to you).

Thanks Sebastian.  Any URL, email or company name info would be great.

CATIE's the costa rican cocoa research institute.  a web search will tell you everything you need to know

Frank, consider visiting La Iguana Chocolate in Mastatal, Costa Rica. It is a 4 hour bus ride from Quepos. Also, if possible, you should try and get to Puerto Viejo on the East Coast to visit Carribeans. The owner, Paul, will be more than happy to show you his process. Just make sure you contact him before hand, as he mostly only does tours once or twice a week. Of course, Puerto Viejo is only a couple of hours away if you drive. By bus it took me 8-10 hours to get from Quepos to San Jose to Puerto Viejo. 

Other than that, there is a not too much in the Quepos region for the chocolate interested. I was there in December and searched all over. Eventually I decided I had to travel to the Caribbean coast. You may get more information on where to view fermentation hands-on from Sibu Chocolate, or Samaritan Chocolate (very small operation; they don't ferment their beans themselves, but the owner is super friendly).

Contact Jorge Salazar for La Iguana Chocolate:

You can contact Paul at Carribeans through his company's website &

Hope that helps! Good luck!

Thanks Renee,

Very helpful detail ! I was in Puerto Viejo 2 years ago but before my interest in the chocolate life. It was a good 3 hours from San Jose due to the banana truck traffic over the mountains. Iguana appears to be only a couple hour drive from my location.



Hmm in the western Costa Rica I'm not sure. I suggest you look at the northern plains. We have our cacao farm there. ( or FB: Chocolate Nahua ) Let me know if I can help you with anything :)

Thank you Daniela.  

We fly into San Jose then drive to Dominical for a two week stay.  On the way back we plan to see the volcanos at Bajos de Toro Amarillo, Sarchi for a day or two.  During the trip I would very much like to spend a day seeing some of the processing I have read so much about.  If Nahua's cocoa fermentation/drying is anywhere near our route, I would appreciate your introduction.

Thanks again.

Hello Frank, this is Juan, I work with Daniela at Nahua Cacao & Chocolate.  Our farm is not located near the areas that you are going to visit.  The farm is in "Bijagua de Upala", between the Tenorio and Miravalles Volcanoes.  More or less 4 hours drive from San José or Dominical.   Google Maps: 10.74503,-85.000105  

Thank you Juan Pablo,

Sorry to see you are so far from our location, however, I'll save the location for our next visit to Costa Rica.  It appears that La Iguana is the closest to our location.

Thank you for your response.

hello , I live in perez zeledon , I just bought a panning machine ,can I be of any help ,I am interested in fermemtation , as well , steve


Thanks for your comment.

I'm in the learning phase of bean-bar with hopes of getting my hands chocolaty in the near future.  Fermentation seems to be one of the most uncontrolled process and so am trying to get first hand knowledge of at least one producers process.  La Iguana seems to be the closest possibility so I'll schedule a visit sometime in the first half of April.

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