This morning we were given tours of two companies that serve as primary producers to coffee beans, the Doka Estate, and Café Britt. Although the two companies produce coffee beans out of Costa Rica, they are not necessarily considered competitors. The Doka Estate harvests thousands of coffee beans annually and they produce some products for consumption; however, they mainly serve as a supplier to other suppliers such as, Green Mountain, Starbucks, and Pete’s. Café Britt, recently known as Britt, produces their own coffee beans as well, but they do not supply them to other companies. Instead, Britt is a competitor of those firms that Doka supplies to. Doka is mainly a supplier of resources to suppliers of consumers in reference to the supply chain. On the other hand, Britt is their own supplier of resources, and they also supply finished products to the consumer.
Both the Doka Estate and Britt have recently invested in the idea of sustainability. As I stated in my first blog, Costa Rica values sustainability greatly, they are taking dramatic measures to eliminate waste with the main goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2021. As explained by the grandson of the original estate owner, the process involved with picking the perfect coffee beans is tedious, and many beans are not used for mass consumption in an actual cup of coffee, however the elements of those beans are not wasted. The outer shell is used as a source of fuel for the machinery that dries the beans, additionally the sugary substance that coats the bean is used to make coffee liquor products; it is fermented in the fourth stage of production. The lesser beans are then used for “supermarket” coffee, or general consumption. Most of the time the supermarket coffee is 20% sugar to make up for the lack of pleasant flavor. The Doka Estate chooses to comply with the Rainforest Alliance as well as Starbucks’ certifications and codes. The four platforms of the Rainforest Alliance that the Doka Estate prioritizes are the benefits to employees, improvement in product quality, commitment to the environment, as well as the dedication to give back to surrounding communities.
Britt differs from Doka because it is more attractive to tourists than it is to the local people. This may be due to their marketing stance. Britt is focused on expansion to various nations rather than advertisement in its native land. Britt advertises itself in other countries by adjusting the image of their brand to fit the brand of the country the store is to reside in. For example, the store in Antigua & Barbuda is more island-like with art resembling blue oceans than Peru’s shop, which exhibits art resembling that of the ancient Inca tribe that is native to Peru. Britt’s sustainable practices are focused around the physical production of their various products, similar to Doka, as well as the inclusion of local artisans to induce sustainable communities outside of the company. For example, Britt hosts programs for young children that have almost nothing to do with the coffee industry; instead, it is more of an interactive seminar on recycling to jumpstart a generation committed to bettering the environment for all. Britt also has a Fair Trade certification focus. I agree with their approach, in fact, Britt has been so extremely successful in their finances due to their altered brand that the company is often times used as a case study to many local business schools.