The best part of my trip to Costa Rica was our tour of Don Juan coffee farm.  It was completely interactive and took us through every stage of coffee cultivation, and included tastes and recipes (spicy hot mocha anyone?).  They also grew chocolate and sugar cane.  Who wouldn’t love a place with all those things?  And since we went right before Christmas, several members of the family got coffee and chocolate as gifts – and I thought I’d give myself the gift of coffee, too.

My last experiment with a coffee scrub went pretty well, but I figured adding spices to the mix would up the level of flavor and make it smell even better!  Scroll through a picture tour of our visit and try using your coffee grounds to get rid of dry winter skin after your next brewing!  I’m treating myself to an at-home spa day to close out 2013 🙂

2013-12-15 16.02.32 How they hauled hundreds of pounds of coffee before tractors – with cows!

2013-12-15 16.07.57First stop: a green house to learn the life cycle of coffee beans, from seedling to fruit-bearing plant

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Coffee pickers wear baskets that they fill before dumping into a larger container.  I volunteered to get strapped in 🙂

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It’s kind of like picking blueberries.

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Each berry has two coffee beans inside…they’re white, and covered in a slimy coating – the guide encouraged us to taste them!  The gel is sweet, but the beans taste straw-like (nothing like coffee).

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This machine separates the beans from the pods

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They’re spread on the floor of another greenhouse to dry out

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Then they’re ready for roasting – like a cement mixer, this machine has a rotating bin so beans are evenly roasted on all sides

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Sugar cane is a fast growing crop…

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ach segment of the cane takes about a month to grow.  After the juice is pressed out, the fiberous stems are fed to livestock.

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Cocoa in its pod.

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Cocoa after fermenting, drying, and de-shelling

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You can speed up the de-shelling with a big mallet; Ali demonstrates

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Ground cocoa nibs with cocoa butter, pepper, and sugar – just add hot water for a delicious drink!

Spiced Coffee Body Scrub


  • 1/2 c brewed coffee grounds
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg (I added those before brewing, but you could also add after if you don’t want flavored coffee)
  • 1/3 c sugar (I used white, you could also use brown – granules of raw sugar are a bit too large)
  • 2-3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted (depending on how wet your grounds are)

Blend together in a bowl.  In the shower, scrub on body (too rough for face!) after cleansing and rinse/wipe off with a washcloth.  The grounds and sugar will exfoliate while the oil locks in moisture.

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