Today, we visited a local coffee roaster for a brand called 1820. This visit was one of my favorites of our trip because, compared to the coffee tours, we took a full-fledged tour through the company as it was operated, from the warehouse where they store their imported beans to each step in the roasting and packaging process as it was happening. The purity of the perspective was eye-opening, as we were able to see the labor that goes into each package of coffee. However, 1820 produces a much cheaper version of coffee compared to the gourmet roasters we have visited. 1820 only has 50 workers for their operation of producing 23 tons of ground coffee every day. The reason why they produce so much coffee is because they fulfill a niche market in coffee: local to Costa Rica and inexpensive.
This market segment exists as the coffee trade has become commercialized and larger corporations for gourmet coffee are focused on the largest consumer of coffee: the United States. For organizations like Cafe Britt, Doka, and ICAFE, their operations are focused on the exports of coffee no matter their segment in the supply chain. Since all of the great coffee is sent to the United States, Ticos are only offered the lowest quality coffee from such companies. 1820 has rised to popularity as, while they may use lower quality beans, they provide Ticos with a product with great value that supports a local organization. Personally, I think it’s unfair that the Ticos, who are so passionate about their country are unable to experience the best product that their country has to offer concerning its coffee. Still, if the Costa Ricans love the coffee they drink for the low price they pay, then I supposed there is no issue with the current situation.