Being a cooperative, Dota has coffee beans sourced from all around the Tarrazú region. Two advantages of this are that their plants are scattered around far enough away to avoid a catastrophic outbreak of disease, and it is easier for each small scale farmer to produce a quality harvest of coffee. However, there is difficulty in transporting the beans from each farm to Dota’s headquarters. Many families own old Toyota vehicles that have been used throughout generations and use them to transport their crops. In addition, Dota has several drop off locations set up around the valley for the distant farmers to use. Traditional companies don’t have to deal with hundreds of independent farmers like Dota’s 900 strong. Therefore there is no complex transportation necessary, but it could be more difficult to manage the same number of coffee plants without them.
Coffee is a key part of the culture in the valley of Santa María de Dota. As much of the valley is covered in coffee farms, many families send their children to barista schools either in this valley or the central valley. Dota itself even provides education about coffee making. Without a cooperative, coffee wouldn’t be such a large part of the culture as most farmers would give up their occupations to pursue a less competitive field. A farmer by himself wouldn’t make much profit competing with the hundreds of other farmers, and exporting would be too much of a challenge to be worth it. Café Privilegios is important for the community because it reinforces this coffee culture by selling some of Dota’s best coffee and providing jobs for some of the valley’s youth.
On a simpler note, the coffee prepared for us today tasted delectable. After learning about how to extract the ideal properties from coffee today, I felt like I could taste just what we had learned. I had a frappe which was made in a simple, rustic way with only milk being added to the coffee, but the drink tasted like it was much more complex. I think I’m going to need to start making my own now.