Costa Rica Harvest Trip

Competition for the best coffee lots is stiff, but many new farmers are building new Micromills to meet the demand to top coffee. January 2010 Farm Visits.

I went to Costa Rica for a harvest trip in January 2010. The main goal was not cupping/buying, but to look in on our ongoing projects, to see the quality of coffee selection in picking, and to get a feeling for the quality of the coming crop.

This was a harvest-time trip to Costa Rica to visit some of the coffee farms we have been working with the past years.

Depending on whom you talk to and where they are, it is either a normal-sized harvest or a small one. One thing for sure, there is stiff competition to buy cherry from small farmers by the multi-nationals, like ECOM, Volcafe, etc.

It appears they have a lot of contracts to fill, and they are paying high prices for coffee cherry. This might be great for farmers, in the short term… but if the market conditions change they might again find themselves in the same situation as the “coffee crisis” years, when the bottom fell out on market prices.

I like to think that the model we work by, the fixed price one that offers a stable and much higher price (but also demands better quality) is the true, sustainable route. I think time will prove it to be so. In any case, we are very excited about the coffee producers we are working with and the new ones we are adding to our program.

Thanks to Juan Ramon and Francisco and the crew for their great work. -Tom

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