The planning process is very important for farms, especially in terms of longevity. What stuck out to me about planning with farming is how your actions today could affect the productivity of you farm down the road. Don Guillermo explained how by integrating forest, organic fertilizers, and other sustainable aspects. He not only has improved the quality of his soil, but has made his farm able to last long term and still have similar yeilds
Furthermore, within both coffee and pineapple plantations, most crops are sold years in advance. This is an important aspect of planning because when these plots or products are sold, the farms cannot do anything to change the land without their shareholders consent. When selling plots of coffee or pineapples, they need to be strategic about which plots will provide the best product in the next coming years, which plots will need trimming and overall maintenance must be planned years in advance.
Reflecting on the farms, most importantly Don Guillermo, I think I appreciate more the effort that is put in to make a farm more sustainable. It requires a lot more hard work and effort in the planning region than just traditional monocrop farming. When shopping for products, I want to look for more organic products to give back to the farms who are working so hard
Processing Mills and Exporters
There is a lot of planning that goes into exporters,especially coffee exporters. As seen in the Doka presentations, exporters have to help plan from when the coffee fruit arrives at the processing mills to when its delivered to the customers. Processing Mills must plan first, how the will divide the different types of washes and how much of the coffees will go to each watch. Another important aspect is timing. Because coffee beans can take 2-14 days to dry depending on the wash and drying method, its important to plan how much coffee will flow through your plant and at what rate. Once the coffee is processed, they must contact customers and coordinate delivery. They must plan which shipping containers they will travel in, the timing it will arrive to the customer. Overall just a very complex system.
To be honest, I can’t say that this changes much about my relationship with coffee. Maybe a deeper appreciation for when I have a cup of coffee, knowing how much effort went into preparing it.
Coffee Roasters and Retail Stores
Coffee Roasters have 3 main focuses while planning. First, they must plan the coffee that comes in. Because of the nature of Costa Rican farms, many farms and processing mills pool coffees to sell to roasters. This means that roasters must decide who they want coffee from and how much from each farm. As Cafe Brit mentioned, this often creates a back and forth between farms and the sellers. Second, they must plan what kind of roasts they are going to create. Based on what they are selling to distributors, they have to decide the blend and roasting of coffee. Lastly, they need to plan where they are going to send their product. Are they going to sell it to international brands? Are they going to keep it to themselves and sell themselves? Are they going to keep it in country? These are all things they must consider
Retail Stores main focus with planning is on Marketing. This makes me think of Cafe Brit and their extensive process of planning marketing when they enter a new country. In order to prepare to launch a new store, they send somebody 6 months in advance to understand what the locals like, identify notable monuments and animals that can be used on packaging.
First of all, I left most of the roasters feeling more educated about what kind of coffee I should be looking for when shopping. Because of the different roasts, blends, and washes, I understand that coffee isn’t a one trick pony and must be understood in order to get a good cup of coffee. Second, as a coffee customer, I now understand the tactics companies may take in order to get me to buy their coffee. While this isn’t necessarily bad thing, it is important to know so that I can search for high quality coffee and not a coffee thats just trying to sell to tourists. (I’m looking at you cafe brit).
Customers may not be involved much with planning how their coffee starts from coffee bean to actual roast. However, it is important to note that one of the most loved aspects of coffee is the customers ability to create coffee just the way they like it. In this aspect, they are apart of the coffee planning process. They, in the end, plan how the product will be delivered to them.
Overall, coffee isn’t something that is just to be drank, but experienced. Moving forward, I want to strive to enjoy every sip of coffee, experiment with new coffee, and remember all the hard work and labor put into it.