Silent Valentine

Bonjour Travellers!

Silent Valentine

Silent Valentine

February, the month of love, is drawing to a close and there’s great joy in our hearts knowing that we took part in the celebration and were able to spread the love.

In February, people celebrate love all month long. Across the world, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th of February and we are no exception here in Bloemfontein.  An abundance of love, romance, chocolates, flowers and cards showed the value and importance our City of Roses places on love.

On the 14th of February, we at Arista Guest House had the wonderful opportunity to help couples celebrate this special day.  We partnered with Silent Events Free State/Bloemfontein Popcorn Club and Sonique Productions to bring our lovebirds “Silent Valentine” –an exclusive outdoor movie experience. As you may remember Bloemfontein had high levels of rain but the event still took place regardless of the weather conditions. The garden was perfectly reenacted indoors and as a result the audience members still walked away with a sense of an exclusive outdoor movie experience.  Our audience was on specialised high quality headphones which were provided to all audience members to enjoy the movie, affording them the luxury of being unaffected by noise . There was absolutely no noise pollution and the audience was emerged into the movie. The old time favourite 1990 film “Ghost” was on screen with its mixture of comedy, thrills and mushy romance being perfect in capturing the theme for the evening. Also, an added cool perk was the audience could switch to a channel of old time favourite love songs or have an intimate conversation and time with their loved one. All this was done while sitting on picnic blankets and enjoying delicious popcorn, beverages and snacks of course. *SPOILS*

Thank you to all those who came to share the love, It’s always a pleasure.

Gros Bisou


Bloem events to lookout for in March:

2 – 26 March – Lifestyle Sunday’s AT Ramblers @ 7:30 – 14:00

6 March Fun Insightful Art Evening AT Gallery on Leviseur @18:30

12 March Russian Ballet Bloemfontein @19:00

17 March Bloemfest @10:00

29 March Silent Movie Experience AT Arista Guesthouse @20:00

31 March Bloemfontein Street Food and Craft Festival @10:00

31 March Jazz On The Lawn at Windmill Casino @14:00

more coffee

Hello Travellers!

@grupoconval Family

We’ve told you where in Bloem you can find the final product; now we are going to share with you the coffee-making process from an actual coffee maker’s perspective. We were fortunate enough to host German Zelayandia at Arista Guesthouse back in 2012. He is a Salvadoran engineer who visited Bloemfontein on business. He is part of a company called @GrupoConval, Salvadoran coffee production company and these are his insights.


The coffee beans

The history behind the company dates back as far as 1918, where one man and one woman united with a common interest in coffee production. From there onwards, generations of coffee growers acquired new coffee farms in better geographical areas, installed wet and dry mills and switched over rom generic to speciality coffee for exportation and to introduce tourism as a compliment to the sustainability of the coffee production.

Fast forward to 2018 and the fourth generation of coffee growers has, amongst other things, broadened the exportation of speciality coffees and has introduced new varieties (geisha) and 3 members of the fifth generation are interested in joining in on the venture.


The coffee farms Monte Verde and Los Cipreces are on the Ilanmatepec mountains.

Coffee plantation

Both these farms produce mainly bourbon and pacas varieties. The harvest period spans from December to February each year and the area experiences sufficient temperatures and rainfall for optimal growth of a variety of trees.

The team is selecting yellow bourbon coffee




Ready for export

We did not exaggerate when we said that coffee-making is an intricate process, but here’s our simplified version of the whole shebang:
It all starts with cutting, sorting and weighing of cherries. Then, the coffee is transferred to the wet mill for pulping. It is then left to ferment for an average of eight hours before it is eventually taken to dry in the drying yards. After about 6 to 8 days of drying in the sun, being moved and covered with plastic in the evenings, they proceed to gather the coffee in bags (by variety, batch, plank, characteristics, process etc.) and transport the bags to a horizontal drier for further drying. Finally, they are packed into new bags and stored in warehouses in separate consignments, depending on the case and wooden pallets.

Conval Group is deeply rooted in family values and social responsibility. This is shown in the fact that the 5th generation of the same family is about to take over the company and in the fact that they take care not to waste water in their processes, respectively.

For information on where to find their coffee beans, please refer to



A Traveller’s Friend