Comparing Costa Rican Coffees

The largest and most valuable customers to Costa Rican coffee manufacturers are in Europe and the United States, therefore, when companies such as Cafe Britt and Doka produce coffee the best product is sent to these countries and the less desirable coffee is sold in the smaller market of Costa Rica.  This is one reason why Costa Ricans do not like the coffee produced by their manufacturers, the ticos are receiving an inferior grade of the drink that carries a more bitter flavor (depicted in the far left of the picture below). In fact, these beans produce coffee that tastes so bad that the companies that purchase it must mix it with excessive amounts of sugar to make it tolerable to drink (by the time the coffee reaches supermarket shelves it could contain up to 20% sugar).


Doka primarily sells its coffee as an intermediate good (most sales are of unroasted or green beans) with only 5% of its coffee sales coming from packaged coffee beans and grounds. Meanwhile, Britt sells about 10% of its products directly to consumers through its e-commerce platform and the remainder of sales are split between goods sold to consumers through its retail locations and goods sold to businesses such as Green Mountain and Starbucks. Britt also has a much more diversified product portfolio. The company sells coffee, chocolates, souvenirs and more in its retail locations and all of its products are exclusive to their brand.


Cafe Britt uses sourcing strategies that help to reduce costs and maximize the quality of the product sold, these strategies are also very similar to the ones used by Doka. Britt purchases the seeds for their coffee trees (or uses harvested seeds) then grow the plants.  This is done instead of purchasing more mature plants that have already developed and are already producing.  This aspect of Britt’s sourcing is important because it can take 3-4 years for the trees to produce.  Another aspect of the company’s sourcing is where the labor comes from . About 80% of labor force comes from Nicaragua. This is because Costa Rica has better quality of living and Costa Ricans do not want to work on coffee plantations because many feel they can find better jobs.  Britt also uses many sustainable resources in it sourcing processes, the company gets most of its power from sustainable resources, does not need to irrigate due to the natural precipitation, and uses the layers of the beans not needed to make coffee to fuel the furnaces and to fertilize the fields.


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