Café Britt Shines in the Sun

Today we learned all about coffee from our visits to Doka and Café Britt.  Both of these visits included a tour of the plantation and a very informative presentation.  I was fascinated to see all of the steps that go into making a cup of coffee!

Café Britt is a company that is known for their production of gourmet coffee and chocolate.   Café Britt starts off as a customer/buyer in the supply chain.  Since they do not plant their own coffee beans, Café Britt purchases coffee beans from 2,000 independent plantations (these 2,000 plantations act as the suppliers in the supply chain).  Once they receive the beans, Café Britt does the rest of the work internally.  They roast the beans and package the finished product, getting it ready to sell (Café Britt acts as a manufacturer/distributer).  Café Britt also acts as a retailer because they sell the finished product to end users and to other retailers.  Café Britt has been very successful in gaining a global presence in retail, especially in Central and South America, and many international airports.  They have also expanded from only selling coffee, to selling coffee, chocolate, clothing, and much more!

Café Britt measures their success in many ways.   Revenues is one of their many focuses.  Café Britt has set a goal to generate $250 million in sales by 2018.  Even though they know this is an ambitious and challenging plan, Café Britt will determine their success based on whether they reach this goal or not.  Café Britt also places a large emphasis on sustainability.  This can be seen when they purchase coffee beans from the 2,000 plantations.  These plantations are very small, which allows them to use more sustainable practices than if Café Britt grew and dried the beans themselves.  Also, Café Britt has placed a greater emphasis on sustainable packaging by using cardboard boxes and reusing the aluminum/recycling the plastic that they use to keep the coffee fresh.  They have also implemented the “Go Green” initiative to increase their emphasis on sustainability.  A third measure is Café Britt’s global presence.  Café Britt was originally only in Costa Rica.  However, they have greatly expanded and now can be seen all around the world.  Café Britt has distribution centers in many different countries, including United States.  I find it cool that if you live in the United States, you can order Café Britt coffee or chocolate and have it delivered right to your doorstep.  Judging by these standards, I think Café Britt is running a very successful company. 

Café Britt has to address logistics in many different circumstances.  One time is when they are buying the coffee beans from the plantations.  How do the coffee beans get from the plantation to Café Britt? When Café Britt is the buyer, the system is FOB destination point.  This means that the plantations are responsible for all of the transport to Café Britt, and once the delivery arrives, Café Britt receives ownership.  I agree with this approach because it limits Café Britt’s costs, as they do not have to pay for trucks or workers to drive the trucks.  Logistics is also a factor for Café Britt when it comes to packaging.  Café Britt packages their finished goods on their own, which I think is a great idea.  Since Café Britt places a large emphasis on sustainability in packaging, they are able to use the materials they want and oversee the process because it is done internally.  Café Britt uses aluminum and plastic to protect the coffee from light, oxygen, and water.  They are able to reuse the aluminum to make purses and shopping bags, and they can recycle the plastic.  Another logistical process that I agree with is the numerous distribution centers worldwide.  This is a great idea because rather than having to ship the products from Costa Rica every time an online purchase is made, the product will be shipped from a closer distribution center.  This will greatly reduce costs.  One logistic strategy that I do not agree with is when ownership is transferred to the buyer while Café Britt is acting as the supplier.  This process uses FOB destination point, so Café Britt is responsible for shipping the products and ensuring that it makes it to the destination.  Although there are advantages to the current system, I would suggest changing to FOB shipping point.  Switching to this system cam have some negative effects, including the loss of some buyers because they do not want to pay and be responsible for shipping, but there would be many advantages as well.  These advantages would include reducing costs, because Café Britt will not have to pay for the trucks, gasoline for the trucks, or for workers to drive the trucks, and they would not be responsible for any damage to products or lost products during transportation.

I thought today’s activities were very interesting.  I like how we went to two different coffee plantations so that we can compare and determine the advantages of each company’s strategy.  I cannot wait to go to more coffee companies to learn about their processes and try their coffee!

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