Before visiting Costa Rica, all I had heard about it was that the food and drinks were unlike anything in America. Friends and acquaintances alike excitedly told me all of the different foods, fruits, and snacks I just had to try. A common factor they all mentioned was the coffee. Thankfully, because we’re here to study coffee, I have had the pleasure to try more brands and roasts than I can count on both hands. Today at Café Rey, I learned that in Costa Rica, 80% of the profits go back to the producers. This is unique to Costa Rica because in other countries, profits go towards the people who sell the products, not those who put the work in. This is important since a lot of coffee farms in Costa Rica are extremely small or family-owned. By giving majority of the money back to the producer, it allows the producer to continue working hard in the coffee industry, provide for their family, and keeps the economy in towns throughout the country stable. Mentioned at Life Monteverde, a lot of families are beginning to work in the tourism industry since their coffee farms are not providing them enough money. By giving money back, this allows more families and small farms to stay in the industry and keep it strong. Most Costa Rican coffee is grown in small towns on mountains, not larger cities. Giving money back to the producer keeps the economy in the country distributed between the cities and rural, coffee producing towns.
Since Costa Rica is such a small country, not many people know where it is. Exporting coffee around the world gave many Costa Rica a name and put them on the map for people everywhere. Even the infallible Pope Francis has agreed that Costa Rican coffee is the best coffee in the world. Because the country is so well-known in the coffee world today, many people travel here to taste the unparalleled drink. Maybe I wouldn’t have noticed them if we weren’t here to study coffee, but there are a lot of billboards and signs advertising coffee, cafes, and coffee farm tours. The coffee trade industry has most definitely helped out the tourism industry. Not only do people want to travel to Costa Rica to see the beautiful views and interact with the happiest people in the world, they also want to try the world-renowned coffee. Tourism is currently Costa Rica’s most prominent industry, which helps the economy in countless ways.
Costa Rica exports the best of the best to countries around the world, leaving the secondhand supplies for themselves. The remaining food that the Ticos eat are still much fresher than those that take many days to travel across borders. In Costa Rica, it is law to only produce Arabica coffee since people prefer the taste to Robusta coffee. Because the country is so small, it cannot compete with other coffee producing countries in quantity, so it competes in quality. Costa Rica’s climate is ideal for producing the best coffee and freshest fruits and they know it. They are also aware that the exportation of the best is best for their economy. It’s as though the Ticos have come to an agreement to accept the slightly lower quality food in return for a stable economy. Economic stability is a marathon, not a sprint.