Coffee: a Complex Supply Chain

For the past two weeks, we’ve been gathering the pieces of the coffee supply chain puzzle, and now it’s all come together. The supply chain for coffee is complex, and customer service plays a major role. From the beginning, when coffee is grown and harvested, coffee plantations work hard to ensure quality for their customers….

Taking a Break from Coffee: Time to Go Bananas!

Today, our group got to visit the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and explore the Dole banana plantation in Sarapiqui. This was a nice change, as all our previous tours and studies have been focused on coffee. The banana supply chain is quite different from coffee’s, mostly because it is much simpler and has fewer…

Regulating Costa Rican Coffee

Today, we did our last two coffee tours: ICAFE (Instituto del Café de Costa Rica) and Café 1820. ICAFE was very interesting, because even though they have all the equipment to produce their own coffee, they’re a government funded agency that regulates coffee quality and provides resources to Costa Rican coffee companies. They have laboratories…

Conservation in the Cloud Forest

Today, we finally got to explore the cloud forest in Monteverde. This reserve was started largely by the Quakers that came to Costa Rica around 70 years ago. When Don Ricardo came to talk to us about the history of the Quaker group here on Thursday, he mentioned that his father was a major influence…

Life of a Farmer at LIFE Monteverde

Today was my favorite day of the trip so far. We visited LIFE Monteverde, a small coffee farm. It was very interesting to see how focused this farm was on sustainability. What interested me the most about the farm was the way nothing went to waste. The coffee parchment was used on the floor of…

On the Way to Monteverde

Today, we made the four hour trip to Monteverde. We’ll be staying here for the next two nights. The trip here, while very long, was very eye-opening and I learned a lot about the geography of Costa Rica. When I first arrived in Costa Rica, I was shocked by how busy and concentrated Heredia and…

San José: una ciudad única

Today, I visited the wonderful city of San José for the first time. This was a very interesting experience, as it had much in common with American cities like Pittsburgh, but also had a very unique atmosphere. We took the train from Heredia into San José. This train only runs twice a day: in the…

Coffee at Café Britt and Doka Farms

Today, we got to visit both Doka Coffee Farms and Café Britt. Both companies are very good at what they do, but are very different from each other. Doka Farms, the one pictured, grows their own coffee and sells most of it to chains like Starbucks to be roasted. A small portion of their harvest…

Las Carretas de Costa Rica

Today, we expected a lecture about Costa Rica’s economy, but were instead treated to an exciting lesson about various aspects of Costa Rican culture. We learned about music, food, typical games and activities, and the UNESCO World Heritage symbol for Costa Rica: the oxcart. At the end of our lesson, we had the opportunity to…

¡Bienvenidos a Heredia!

We made it! After only one full day here in Heredia, I have learned so much about Costa Rica and the wonderful people that live here. Even at 11 pm last night, my host family had a full dinner prepared for my roommate and me. Walking through downtown Heredia today, many locals welcomed us to…

Costa Rica: Leading the Way to a Sustainable Future

¡Hola! I’m Lauren, a Chemical Engineering student at the University of Pittsburgh. In just a few days, I’ll be on the adventure of a lifetime as I travel to Costa Rica as part of the Plus3 program! I can’t wait to experience the Costa Rican pura vida lifestyle, enhance my Spanish speaking skills, eat lots…

Meet Plus3 Costa Rica 2019!

Welcome to the Costa Rica Plus3 Study Abroad Program! Professor Ryan Teeter and Brandi Gongaware, Admissions and Recruiting Coordinator, are traveling to the Costa Rica Central Valley, Monteverde, and Tarrazu with 24 College of Business Administration and Swanson School of Engineering students from May 4th-May 18th. In addition to numerous cultural experiences, the trip will…