Monday, May 23, 2011

Sipi Falls- Part 2

The second day at Sipi Falls was a beautiful sunny day. We decide to head out on the coffee tour. It is suppose to be closer, and less strenuous. We start out with our same guide, Jasper. He grew up on the hill just below where we were staying. He is very familiar with all the paths, the elevation and the climbing. While Tina and I are panting/trying to catch our breath... Jasper just smiles and waits patiently. Again, I didn't think I was in that bad of shape.
Anyhow, the walk is gorgeous. Through the eucalyptus forests. Across streams. Through banana trees. Past little farms. All against the rich greens of the many plants, and the bright blue of the sky. Absolutely breath-taking.

We head to and arrive at a local farmers coffee plantation. We are told the "old man" isn't around but the son says he can take us around. He explains all about how long it takes to grow a coffee plant from a seedling to being able to pick the beans. He shows us one year old plants.
Two year old plants. Three year old plants. Four year old plants... which are now ready for to harvest. Four years. I knew it took four years, thanks to Out of Africa. Where else does one learn about ALL things African. :-)
We are then told that we can plant our own tree. In three years we can come back and pick our own coffee beans. I can't wait that long for coffee.

We head back down to the lodge we are staying at to see the rest of the process.
We are shown dried coffee beans still in their "husk" (not sure what the proper term is).
We are given a.. what is that thing called? Anyhow, we are told to pound the beans... and pound... and pound. Then we sift, and pick and sift some more.

The traditional way of roasting coffee was over a wood fire, so we head to a small hut where they already have a fire going. We dump the coffee beans into a pot and Jenifer (the nice lady who managed to stand over the fire with smoke in her eyes for about twenty minutes) starts to stir. The coffee beans are finally done. They ask us to try one. They.... were.... horrible..... burnt. I'm sure that back in the colonial days when they roasted coffee over an open fire it turned out great. We failed miserably.

The rest of the day we relaxed, watched a movie, read or wrote in a journal.... relaxed. It was wonderful.

The next morning we headed home. When we started driving down the mountain it was cool to see that we were above the clouds.

Sipi Falls was beautiful. Time away was much needed. Getting to know Tina better was great. I should do this more often.

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