Over the past two weeks, I have learned a lot about the supply chain for coffee in Costa Rica. Moreover, I have learned how my group’s topic —make— relates to the different stages of the supply chain. These steps involve the farm, processing mill and exporters, coffee roasters and retail locations, as well as the customers.
Making of coffee takes place at the farm since that is the location were the coffee cherries are grown. The coffee growing season takes place at these farms from around October to January. The workers will know when the coffee cherries are ready to be picked based on if the outside skin is the color red.
These ripe coffee cherries will then go to the processing mill for manufacturing. At this location, the beans will be separated by quality, washed, and dried. It is important to note that the low quality beans are not thrown away. Rather, they will ultimately be sold as cheaper, commercial coffee. Once the coffee is dried, it is ready to be exported to coffee roasters and retail stores. There are special burlap bags which are used to store the coffee during this part of the process; these bags help the coffee to stay fresh and retain its properties.
The coffee roasters will make different types of coffee depending on how long they leave the beans in the oven. Leaving the beans in the oven for a long amount of time will result in a darker color and a stronger taste. Moreover, Italian is considered a dark roast of coffee while pea berry and French are both medium roasts. Upon the completion of the roasting process, the coffee beans are sent to retail locations. Here, the coffee can be sold in several different ways. The coffee beans could be sold in tact in a bag. The coffee could be available for purchase grinder. Also, the roasted beans could be sent to a store like Starbucks where the coffee is mainly sold in drink form.
The coffee supply chain concludes with the product being purchased and utilized by the customers. If these consumers purchase pre-made coffee drinks, then they will not take place in the process of making coffee. However, the customers can take place in making coffee if they buy roasted coffee beans or grinded coffee beans from a retail store. Some of the techniques they could use to make their coffee are drop, immersion, and pressure. The main difference between the approaches is related to how long the coffee interacts with the pressure. The drop process creates the lightest tasting coffee, immersion has a medium strength, and pressure will result in the strongest coffee flavor.
In overall, making a delicious cup of coffee is no small feat. The product goes through many different stages before arriving in the hands of caffeine craving customers. As someone who does not enjoy drinking coffee, the Plus3 Costa Rica program has provided me with a greater understanding of coffee. I am now able to notice the different flavors which result from differing washing and roasting techniques. To add to that, I can now recognize why coffee is considered such a valuable item to so many people in the modern age.