How It’s Made: Coffee Edition

During my two weeks here in Costa Rica, I have learned a great deal about the supply chain of coffee, particularly in the perspective of how coffee is made. As the coffee bean moves from the coffee plant to your cup, it goes through coffee farms, mills, roasters, stores, and finally you. It all starts…

Coffee Cooperation is Key

The coffee company that we visited today, Coopedota Café Privilegios, also known simply as Dota, is a unique company in that it is not a single business but rather a collective entity of coffee producers that agree to have their products processed together. At Dota, freshly picked coffee beans from over 900 small coffee companies…

Today We Visited a Coffee…Lab??

When the bus arrived at ICAFE for the first of two coffee tours planned for today, I expected to see a typical for-profit business like the other companies that our group has visited. Soon, I realized that I was wrong. ICAFE is a public coffee research institution that does not receive aid from the government…

The Effects of Quakers, Ticos, and Ecotourism in Monteverde

After hearing from both Don Ricardo, a Quaker from Alabama whose father helped develop the area of Monteverde, and Don Guillermo, who is a local Tico farmer at Life Monteverde, I have learned about the work that each of the men and their counterparts have accomplished for Monteverde. Both Quakers and local Ticos have each…

Life Monteverde: Sustainability, Conservation, and Education

Today we visited Café de Monteverde, a family-owned coffee company with a special subsidiary called Life Monteverde that focuses on sustainable agricultural practices. There, we met Guillermo Vargas, or Don Guillermo, one of the main managers of the business whose father founded Café de Monteverde. Don Guillermo, like many other Ticos, must face many challenges…

Land and Nature in Costa Rica

Before I left for my study abroad experience here in Costa Rica, I had a few expectations in mind based on prior knowledge. From taking Spanish classes in high school, I knew that Costa Rica meant “rich coast”, so I expected most of the country to be flatlands nearby a coast. Though Costa Rica does…

Costa Rica, Coffee Railroads, and Confusion

As the capital city of Costa Rica, San Jose is one of the most significant areas of the country. Home to important buildings such as foreign embassies and the Costa Rican Yellow House, San Jose is a popular place for Ticos to live, about 20% of Costa Ricans live there. In some ways, San Jose…

Café Britt’s Unique Challenges and Success

Our first company visits occurred today as we toured both Doka Estate Coffee and Café Britt. Doka and Café Britt are two of the most popular coffee companies in Costa Rica. Ticos and tourists alike enjoy coffee from both businesses, but each company has a distinct style for providing customers with what they want. Today,…

Explanations of Costa Rican Culture and Society

Based on prior reading and research, I know that there are certain portions of Costa Rica’s history and culture that distinguish the country from others. For example, Costa Rica is an environmentally conscious country, its main industry is currently tourism, and the country’s politics have been divided for the past decade. Today, with the help…

Costa Rica: Expectations vs. First Impressions

Despite the fact that we landed in Costa Rica during the dark of the early evening, I was still easily able to recognize that one of my favorite parts of this entire trip would be the stunning views that the country provides. Last night, as my fellow Pitt students and I rode the bus from…

Costa Rica’s Commitment to Sustainability

Costa Rica is recognized worldwide as a leader in environmental sustainability. This means that they have ongoing initiatives, such as their Biosphere Reserve program and their Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) program, which aim to protect all of the magnificent land and life that Costa Rica has to offer. The Biosphere Reserve program preserves designated…

Meet Plus3 Costa Rica 2018!

Welcome to the Costa Rica Plus3 Study Abroad Program! Professor Ryan Teeter and Laura Caroll, Academic Advisor, are traveling to the Costa Rican Central Valley, Monteverde, and Tarrazu with 24 College of Business Administration and Swanson School of Engineering students from May 5 – May 19. In addition to numerous cultural experiences, the trip will…