The Roasters: Café Britt

Café Britt has worked to make its name known within Costa Rica’s tourism industry. Ticos have ranked Café Britt within their top 10 favorite coffee corporations because they have brought attention to their small Central American country. However, in general few Ticos drink Café Britt due to the prices. Ticos can get coffee from a super market much cheaper, but they respect the role Café Britt plays in Costa Rica’s coffee industry.

Café Britt has designed their role in the supply chain to be focused on management. Their sellers consist of over 2,000 different coffee plantations in Costa Rica, then they roast them in their factory. Café Britt has a large focus on tourism, which means they host many tours of their factory to show visitors what goes into gourmet coffee in hopes that when they learn about it and try their coffee here, those tourists will go home and order more coffee. For this reason, Café Britt does much of its selling through online sales and delivery. They roast the beans as orders are placed to guarantee freshness.

Café Britt measures it success by their ability to grow internationally and innovate the coffee industry. Café Britt takes a multi local approach not a multi-national approach which means they create the coffee for that country’s needs. Many Columbians don’t even know that Café Britt is a Costa Rican company not a Columbian one because they outsource the process to Columbian companies, then Café Britt monitories the quality of the beans and roasting at that location. Some of Café Britt’s innovations so far have included being the first company to roast the beans in the same country they were grown. From their they became the first factory to become certified for tours by the Costa Rican Tourist Bureau, which has led to their success in the tourism industry. As they move forward they continue to innovate through their green efforts.

Simply within the supply chain of coffee Café Britt’s role in making the coffee is roasting. They receive beans from thousands of coffee plantations and must sort and test all the beans. A key component of good roasting comes from buying good beans, so much of what happens at Café Britt is quality control. Café Britt prides themselves on buying many of their beans from smaller, organic plantations. For a plantation to be organic it must be certified by the USDA for doing the following: growing in shade plantations, using limited amounts of pesticides, and reusing byproducts. Beans are bought from an organic plantation and roasted at Café Britt then packaged for delivery. The packaging cannot be recycled within the company but Café Britt gives their packaging to women who use it to make purses and bags. Then they sell these bags in their stores to boost their tourism factor. The coffee cups used for sampling on tours at Café Britt are recyclable and all along the paths they have bins to distinguish between organic materials, the coffee cups, and other materials. All raw materials used to make the coffee at Café Britt come from eco friendly plantations and those materials that are only used in the process are either recycled or reused.

Café Britt markets themselves as being green and offering gourmet quality coffee to expand their market and be innovative. I think being a green corporation contributes to their success because foreigners come here to learn about the coffee process and knowing they are aiding the environment would make them more motivated to buy their coffee from Café Britt versus another place. However, I think they over emphasized their coffee being gourmet because it is only certain blends that are. They do have high standards for quality when roasting their beans, however, the organic coffee was emphasized more on the tour even though not all blends are actually organic. They buy from other plantations as well.

If I worked for Café Britt I would have discussed more about the roasting and the cupping process on the tours since that is what mainly happens at Café Britt. They explained a lot about the growing and harvesting process, which is necessary for outsiders to understand before they get to roasting, but I felt like the actual roasting was skipped over pretty fast. I enjoyed that Café Britt offered samples in their store and I think that aids a lot in the tourism sales of the coffee. After seeing the making process visitors want to be able to taste what they are learning about.

I spoke with my host mom about who agreed that while she likes Café Britt, she doesn’t personally buy it because it is very expensive. When I told her we visited both Doka and Café Britt today she told me she loved Café Britt much more. She was more familiar with them because of their influence on tourism.

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