Throughout my first week in Costa Rica and at the various coffee plantations I have visited, there was one aspect in common: all the companies exported at least some of their coffee to the United States. Some of the companies mentioned that they do not sell a lot of their coffee locally for reasons including prices are too high for the locals and their coffee is in high demand from other countries. I began to wonder not only what the coffee that the Ticos themselves drink is like, but also why is the exploration of coffee so important to Costa Rica.
Before Costa Rica was independent, the country struggled to make a considerable income. Costa Rica spent many of its first days poor, yet desiring to improve. Coffee began to be a focus as farmers began to grow the crop along with mangos and bananas. Exportation began and the money followed. ALthough tourism has become a significant amount of the country’s profit in recent years, Costa Rica would not nearly be as well off and improving without its exports. The money Costa Rica receives from its coffee goes to helping the country as a whole including transportation and education. Costa Rica’s exportation have also allowed them to get on the grid on the world. The country now is able to have relations with other countries in the world and have weight in decisions because of the resources Costa Rica has to offer.
Is Costa Rica’s success worth giving up its prime resources? I believe so. I asked my host family what type of coffee they drink. My host mother brought out a bag of a brand named 1820. I have drank this coffee and and find it to be rich and delicious. Although Costa Rican’s may lose out to the popular brands shipped to the United States, they have their own brands that they enjoy to drink themselves and I think they would agree that the success of their country is more important than keeping the best coffee in the world all to themselves. Building off of this point, today we visited Cafe Rey who although exports to the United States also exports their coffee to many shops in Costa Rica. I tried this coffee and found myself to like it better than the more renown coffee of Cafe Britt. Coffee preference, like Cafe Rey explained to us today, differs for everyone. Each person is going to want a different acidity level or aroma and will try coffee until they find the brand that sticks. Also, some people drink their coffee solely for the caffeine it will bring them and therefore another reason why I think that the Tico’s are going to be alright if they do not get the best of the best every day. I do however believe that companies could try and make their coffee more available to the locals. It seems as though many have given up and only focus on the national market when they could at least make their coffee more available to Ticos if Ticos decide they want to spend the extra buck.