As we are nearing the end of our trip we had only one more business trip left. A unique farm that was very different from the rest of our visits. Dota, a coffee cooperative of multiple farms in the local area that had decided to work together in order to keep up with competition. This style of business is something I had personally never heard about, but I found it very intriguing. The whole premise was to unite local small farms all into one collective to form a titan in the coffee industry. This, like anything else in life, has its pros and cons.
First, I want to start with the positives. Dota allows for a variety of coffee to be produced in many facets. The reason for this is having multiple farms can allow others to focus on different crops. Thus, increasing the variety of coffee produced from one small farm. Something that I thought was fascinating was how the cooperative makes decisions. Our tour guide described it best, a democracy where each farm has a vote and we all meet multiple times a year to decide on big decisions. I personally love this ingenuity. It felt balanced and allows for everyone who is involved to have a say in some way or another. Finally, the cooperative offers so much to their community. They care about the well being of the people around them, because they are the people around them! Dota offers good schooling/education for the kids in the community and even provides old homes for those who are retired from the farms. This clear consideration for those around them shows me that they aren’t some corporation, but rather a tribe who cares for one another.
Still, when there’s good there is some bad and in this case it comes in the form of a contract. For such a loving community I didn’t like the idea of a hard binding contract tying you to the cooperative. I found this a little cold, especially for the fact that they must see the contract through. If someone wants out of their contract they should obviously pay some sort of retribution, but making it completely impossible for them to back out is rough. Besides this there didn’t seem to be any other downsides to joining. I suppose you could argue that you don’t make your own quotas/profits, but it’s your choice to sign up for it. Plus, the cooperative (to our knowledge) didn’t pressure other farms to join it. As a whole, the valley would be very different without Dota. It supplies education, retirement, and jobs to the community while being a place for the people to have a cup of coffee. Sounds to me like some ‘brew’tiful cooperation!
P.S. When sampling at the end of the tour they let me try a frappe (frozen coffee), and it was delicious. This is why I think that by far it is my favorite preparation of coffee.