Chocolate or coffee? —Yes, both!

While in Mindo, we visited Quetzal Mindo, a chocolate shop, garden, and tasting tour. Sergio, our Portuguese guide —whose Spanish is better than my Portuguese— explained that cocoa harvesting originated in what now is Ecuador, but it was mostly used as currency. The pod made it to what now is Mexico where people fermented, dried, roasted, and ground the beans into a paste. The paste was then mixed with hot water and chiles and enjoyed as xocolatl, a luxurious beverage. When Europeans learned about it, they took cacao beans and xocolatl paste back to their homeland, but lacking in spice —they probably had hot water though— mixed it with milk and sugar, thus xocolatl became chocolate and the world changed.

Sergio had the group taste cocoa in various forms and combinations, from raw beans, to 100% chocolate paste, to semisweet chocolate mixed with coffee, fruits, nuts, or spices. Student had specific reactions to each moment of the testing menu.

After leaving Mindo, we made a short but incredibly interesting stop in Nanegalito, a small town about an hour from Quito, where Cloud Coffee Farm produces delicious coffee and welcomes visitors. Klever —Yes, our Klever— is one of the partners at this coffee growing farm. Before we got there, we went through a  neighboring hummingbird refuge that attracts bird watchers and Disney princesses from all over the world.

Sugar attracts hummingbirds, hummingbirds attract bird watchers and students.

Video of THE Disney moment!

After a few Disney and citrus moments, we proceeded to the coffee farm where we learned about growing and processing the seed —or bean, if you want— that produces such a delightful beverage at Cloud Coffee Farm or Café de las nubes.

At the end of the tour and explanation, we had some delicious coffee.