All over the globe Costa Rica is known for two things: 1- it contains the happiest people in the world, and 2- it produces the best coffee in the world. What more could you want from a country? Even the Pope claimed that the best coffee comes from Costa Rica, even though it’s not the world’s biggest source of it. It’s globally known for it’s high end quality that comes from all eight of the coffee regions in Costa Rica. The different regions produce different flavors, aromas, and bodies of the coffee seeds, but each bean is still processed to achieve the highest quality possible. In Costa Rica, it all starts with the seed, and it’s respected in high regards until it’s in the consumer’s coffee cup. The Starbucks company this morning specifically mentioned how they go through intensive training and hold high expectations for each step of the coffee producing process, in order to ensure the highest quality of their coffee. Each coffee company has told us that they do everything they can so they can get the best quality. Even if that means making other sacrifices such as taking a much longer production time and holding off on modernization machinery. The Costa Ricans know that they have some of the best land on this Earth for coffee, which means they do not want to ruin their blessing by performing mass production and losing the quality of their products. For all of these reasons, Costa Rican coffee is relatively expensive and is highly demanded all around the globe.
As we learned last week, coffee was really the start of the middle class in Costa Rica. It provided all kinds of jobs for the Ticos that paid well, but didn’t necessarily make them rich. Throughout the centuries, it’s helped to stabilize the economy as one of the major exported goods. Helping out the economy benefits the rest of the country as well by providing money to help fund infrastructure, education, healthcare, and further developments. As these factors improve, so do the lives of the people- which might be the reason why the Ticos are always so happy.
Although there are many items that are exported from Costa Rica, I do believe that things would be much worse if they weren’t. I do not think that the internal economy would be able to sustain itself without the funds received from exportation of goods. Although there’s some money that goes to the sellers and the middle men, most of the money (80%) throughout an international transaction still goes back to the producer. It makes sense and the farmers deserve it since the whole process relies on their hard labor and dedication. Since the quality of the coffee and other produce from Costa Rica is extremely high, I believe that around the world they are seen as luxury goods. Consumers are willing to pay much more when they are confident that they’ll receive some of the best products on the global market.
Since other countries give more money for the coffee, much more of it is exported rather than leaving it in Costa Rica. Some goods are still sold locally, but not as many that are exported. Cafe Rey is an exception though. They sell their product in the market as “La bebida de los Ticos,” or “The drink of the Ticos.” Their product is sold locally, but still at higher prices. Not as high as some of the other “gourmet” companies though like Cafe Britt. The Ticos have been accustomed to coffee for centuries, but they are not necessarily willing to pay the high end prices for the high end quality. For example, Cafe Britt is 100% organic whereas Cafe Rey is not. But, it’s still good quality coffee and is one of the biggest sellers to locals.
I asked my host mom what kind of coffee she buys because I really enjoy what she gives us in the morning, and she pulled out a Cafe Rey Traditional bag of coffee. It may just be me getting more accustomed to drinking black coffee instead of my “baby coffee” full of cream and sugar back in the US, but I have thought that both the samples at the Starbucks company and at Cafe Rey today were two of the best cups that I’ve had in Costa Rica, only after the daily morning coffee my host mom makes for me (she puts much love into the preparation). I believe that the coffee market should not change. If the Ticos really want the high end quality, they have to pay the price for it. They aren’t necessarily willing to do that, but other countries around the world do. With that being said, I really believe things should just stay the way they are in order to sustain the local economy and improve the country as a whole.