Day 8: ICafe and 1820

              While coffee trade itself has boosted the economy of Costa Rica, the economic benefits from this product are not confined to the coffee industry. Because of their sustainable processes and high quantity of sales to the USA, the coffee industry has indirectly boosted the tourism industry of Costa Rica. People from numerous countries flock to Costa Rica to study their growing and roasting processes that produce premium coffee in an environmentally friendly way. While these people are in the country, they’ll need hotels to stay in and most likely want to take a peek into the culture of the country. A perfect way to do this is to travel the country and see at least a few of their attractions like the beautiful beaches, rain and cloud forests, or go out to get traditional Costa Rican cuisine. All of these boost the revenue streams of the ever-growing tourism industry here. Take our group for example. Everyday we go out to lunch somewhere, and just yesterday the entire group took a day trip to Tortuga Island. On top of this, the whole group spent three days and two nights in El Stablo in Monteverde. Meanwhile, our bus driver Jose and tour guide Melissa have been with us everyday which is two full weeks guaranteed revenue. Also, while I don’t know exactly how profitable it is, our host families most likely receive stipend that Pitt paid into upon signing us up for the trip. Furthermore, we have paid into the tourism aspect to the site visits that provide with a tour guide(s) of the grounds and food.

              Though coffee is the reason we came here and boosted the tourism industry, most of the coffee-based firms we have visited export their premium products out the country for international consumption. This means that the coffee that is sold here is far lower in quality, therefore decreasing the price to a level that the Ticos can afford or are willing to pay. The roasting firm 1820, our second site visit of the day, specializes in roasting this lower quality coffee for domestic consumption as 99% of their sales are within the country. While the coffee beans that 1820 receive are lower quality than the ones that are sold in the USA and other countries at a premium price, that doesn’t mean that they leave the beans at this lower level as they go through the process. To bring the lower quality beans up to par with the rest of the beans they are roasting, 1820 adds sugar early on in the roasting process. This will ensure that all the beans in each batch are consistent in color and somewhat consistent in flavor. So, overall the beans still aren’t he same quality as the premium ones, but they are still decent. Decent may not sound great at first, but in a sense this style of producing coffee is similar to the reason Walmart store brands are made: some people can’t or won’t pay the premium price for something buy all the time. Based off the general mindsets I’ve gathered from my host family and the stories I have heard from other students’ host families, Ticos seem to think that the high quality coffee isn’t worth their hard earned colones and are therefore fine with having the cheaper coffee. Because of this, I feel that the quality of the coffee is perfectly fine for the Ticos. They shouldn’t be forced to pay for premium commodity if they don’t want to.      

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