Final Sale

First in the coffee supply chain is the coffee farms. Coffee farms grow the coffee cherries. The cherries are harvested when red. From there, the coffee cherries are sold to a coffee mill to be processed and dried. The higher the quality of the cherries, the better the price the farm will be able to get for them. Some coffee farms sell to cooperatives (groups of coffee producers who collectively process coffee). Within cooperatives, farmers have the option to meet requirements to gain certifications which will allow them to gain a bonus to the base price the coffee is bought for.

Secondly, the mills take the coffee they bought and process it. They remove the pulp, dry the bean, and remove the parchment. The mill then sells the coffee to the roaster. They demand prices based on the quality and quantity of  the beans. The mills might also export the dried beans to other countries instead of selling them to local roasters. The price can be determined directly between the two parties or through a third party.

Third, the coffee is sent to a roaster where it is toasted to the desired level (light, medium, dark) and some of it is ground. The coffee is then packaged to be sold and distributed. The roasters can sell the coffee to foreign companies or distribute it in the local market. Different brands demand different prices depending on the quality of their coffee and their target audience.

Fourth, the coffee is shipped to retail stores and cafes to be sold to customers. The stores sell the coffee based on the roasters price with a likely increase so the store can profit. Cafes set their pricing based on the type of drink the coffee is used for. For example, lattes tend to cost more than just a cup of black coffee.

Lastly, the customer buys the coffee. The customer is on the receiving end of the sale and pays the price set by the store or cafe. They are the end of the supply chain for coffee.

I have really enjoyed traveling to Costa Rica and learning about the coffee supply chain. It has been interesting to see how a common household product is grown, processed, roasted, and sold. A bag of coffee will never be seen the same way again. The past two weeks have been a blast and I hope I get to return to hermosa Costa Rica again. ¡Hasta luego, Costa Rica!

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