Economic growth and development of Costa Rica in the past two centuries in part, was due to the affects that coffee trade has had on the country. Although Costa Ricans still sometimes struggle to receive funds for physical and organizational structures, the country has seen a lot of improvement in roads, bridges, and railways. The infrastructure of the country initially received little attention as it was not looked at as a necessary concern to allocate money towards. However, once the coffee trade industry began to grow so did the need for superior infrastructure. With increased trade comes an increase in the need for transportation which in turn provided a decrease in unemployment. Therefore, another economic benefit of the coffee trade industry was the creation of new opportunities for employment in areas of infrastructure improvement and coffee trade.
Costa Ricans pride themselves in their high quality coffee, and understand the importance of exporting their best quality in order to receive optimal compensation. This means that only the lower tier coffee is left within the country for citizens consumption. This also applies to other industries such as pineapples and mangos. They only export their best products, and keep the low quality ones for themselves. However, the best fruit that is shipped out is picked prematurely so that it has time to ripen during its travel. On the other hand, Costa Ricans purchase the low tier fruit that is freshly picked from the trees and bought from local markets the same day. As many of us on the Costa Rica Plus3 trip have noticed, the fruit here is fresher and sometimes better than what we would typically find in the United States.
In order to compensate for the difference in coffee quality, local roasters like 1820 provide both high quality and lower quality coffee to the local community for a reasonable price. As we learned today, companies like this one do keep some of the quality beans within country to provide to the citizens of Costa Rica. However, they also work to improve the lower quality by adding sugar in the roasting process. Before visiting 1820, I had already been drinking coffee from this company for over a week as it is what my host mother purchases. She told us that the local community loves this brand as they provide the best coffee. This was reinforced today when we visited the factory and learned that the company holds 30 percent of the market share of coffee sold in the local market.
We have been told many times throughout the last week that the best coffee is the one you like the most. Therefore, the quality of coffee available in local markets is good, and locals do not expect more as they believe they are receiving the best coffee.