Today we visited two different sites: Icafé and 1820. We learned a lot about the research and development happening in the coffee industry and also the local coffee market. Icafé is extremely interesting because they work a lot on the research and development of coffee plants. Right now, for example, they are working on building a coffee database that stores information on the location of origin, the quality, and the composition of different kinds of coffee. This information can then be shared and analyzed to find information on coffee from different areas of the country. They also have a special fungus lab where they observe the affects of various conditions on fungi that attack coffee plants. They also grow fungi that can be used to treat different kinds of diseases that harm the crops.
Farmers could seek help from Icafé for a lot of different situations. For example: if a farmer is having an issue with a pest or fungus, they can go to Icafé for a treatment. Some of these treatments are given for free. Also, farmers can bring samples of their soil to Icafé for testing. After testing, they give recommendations on how much and what kind of fertilizer the farmer should use in order to yield a better crop.
Icafé tests to make sure that a company’s coffee is 100% Costa Rican. In some cases, coffee companies buy coffee from other countries and try to sell it as Costa Rican. In this case, a company doing this may not want their coffee to be tested. Also, when we visited Café Monteverde, our tour guide told us that they do not necessarily need to follow Icafé’s recommended fertilizer amounts because they produce their own fertilizer and they want to reduce emissions by as much as possible. If a large company wanted to reduce their emissions, they may not want to go to the Icafé for fertilizer recommendations, especially if they’re producing their own fertilizer from the coffee wastes. This way they can reduce the amount of fertilizer they’re using and reduce their emissions.
I am so excited to see more of the coffee industry!¡Pura Vida!