The coffee farms in Costa Rica require a lot of coordination between the farmers and the coffee pickers. The farmers must coordinate where and when the coffee pickers are staying at the farm and what benefits the pickers will be receiving. Also the farmers must assure that the coffee cherries are properly transported from tree to milling factory. The coffee pickers must get mainly red cherries in their cahuelas and from their cahuelas they deliver them to the milling factory and get paid based on the number of cahuelas picked in a given day.
The coffee mill starts the complex transportation process of the coffee cherries. At Doka the beans are milled in a wet process where all the cahuelas are placed in fahnegas and then placed in water to separate the floating beans and the sinking beans. The floating beans then flow through a channel to be disposed of while the beans that sunk are vacuumed through a tube to be further sorted by size. The beans are sorted by either falling into slotted cylinders or being stuck outside of the cylinder and flow through a channel via water. Once the beans are separated by size the fermentation process begins. After fermentation the beans are moved to a patio to be dried out. After the beans have been drying for 4-5 days the beans are then packaged into burlap sacks to be transported to the next stage in the coffee supply chain: roasting.
The coffee roasters must get the burlap sacks off of the trucks they are transported on. Once the coffee is in the warehouse the coffee is checked to assure the correct beans and quality. The coffee is poured into the roasting chamber for a given amount of time based on the desired roast. The roasting chamber is opened to release the beans into the cooling chamber so the beans do not burn. After the beans have cooled they are vacuumed up to a channel of the mixing silo so a blend can be made with different roasts of beans. The packaging process differs by plants but smaller roasters like Doka package the coffee by hand while Café 1820 uses machines to package the coffee.
Retail stores must get the correct product from the exporter then make it an appealing good for consumers to purchase. Whether it be by sales or well placed packaging the retailers are responsible for getting the coffee from the roasters to the consumers. Cafes while still getting coffee from roaster to consumer but the cafe must differentiate the product further which increases the worth of the product. The exportation of coffee can occur either after milling or after roasting. If the farms only sell the green beans then they will be roasted by another company. The coffee farms will sell next year’s crop a year in advance to buyers to prepare for the following year’s needs because green coffee seeds can be stored for up to two years. Exportation can either be done by the farmers, the roasters or a completely outside company that is hired solely for transportation purposes.
The consumers in the supply chain are responsible for the consumption of the coffee and for keeping the coffee farmers and roasters in business. The consumers also have the ability to spread information about the coffee product to other potential consumers.
Overall the coffee supply chain is full of logistical flows whether it be the flow of goods or the flow of information between people and companies.