Sao Tomé is famous for having the least bitter cocoa in the World and some really good coffee so a visit to the island is not complete unless you have at least had a taste of it.
Coffee beans drying in Monte Café
One of the best places to get an understanding of the production of coffee is in the small mountain village called Monte Café where there is a museum with machines dating back to the 1800’s. Ive been to several coffee museums and plantations before but this was perhaps the overall most educational covering every aspect of producing coffee.
The 3eur entry for the coffee museum included a guide and coffee tastings
Another place that has a lot of history from cocoa planation in the colonial times is the Roca Agua Ize, where the whole village is built as residential houses for workers at the “roca” (farm).
Roca Agua Ize used to be a cocoa plantation complex
The view from Roca Agua Ize
Last up on my cocoa coffee quest was the chocolate laboratory of Claudio Corallo, which is located in the capital of Sao Tomé which was set up by an Italian coffee broker more than 40 years ago. He discovered that the Sao Tomé cocoa was unique as it had absolutely no bitterness to it.
Tasting ginger chocolate covered in 100% cocoa at Claudio Corallo
The entrance to the guided tour of the factory cost 4euro and included around 15 chocolate tastings of all kinds. We had chocolate with salt and pepper, Liberica coffee (my favorite), ginger and a cocoa liquor, where one litre of liquor was made from one tonn of cocoa pulp. The cocoa, pepper and other ingrediens were made in their plantations on principe island, all without using chemicals and additives to their products.
As a bonus on our Monte Café trip we stopped at Cascato Sao Nicolau