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This day has been sponsored by : Liz, Mark and Johnty Tennant

Week 3 Day 3 - "CoopeSarapiquí"

Last Wednesday I mentioned that I would probably follow up on the coffee topic after our visit to the coffee farm. And here's what I learned...

Our visit actually began at the plant, i.e. after the picking was already completed. Don Esdrual and Doña Ophelia were our guides.

0. (For a picture of a coffee tree, check 13th Nov.).

1. coffee beans - They come in different qualities. The red fruit is of good quality. The green is not.

2. opening & cleaning process - The machine on the second picture was imported from Colombia two years ago. It opens the fruit, and washes the sticky film off the bean. Before the machine was purchased, this process would require 1000 liter more water and 50 kW more power. The latter costs approx. 5-6000 colones per kW (10-12 USD). The huge basins in which the beans used to be washed are now used to keep fresh fish. Since the coffee crisis has ruined the coffee prices, coffee farmers have been looking for sidelines, e.g. in eco tourism.

3. separating the good from the bad - After the beans were dried, they are now being separated into various qualities: the largest portion in the front is excellent quality; the smaller portion in the middle is "ok"; and the smallest portion in the back is not so good. All coffee which is being produced here is café sostenible, i.e. it is a mixture of traditional and organical coffee. The change from producing coffee the traditional way (i.e. with pesticides etc.) and in an organic way (e.g. using the fruit waste for fertilizing) is time consuming, as it affects the productivity. CoopeSarapiqui is on its way to become a pure organic coffee farm.

4. shipping - The beans are packed in sacks and transported to where they will be roasted, grinded, and packaged.

5. sales - About 35% of the production is being sold via tiendas de comercio justo (fair trade shops), e.g. in the Netherlands and Germany, under the names of Café Direct, Café Forestal, and Costa Rica Direct.

Try finding it and let me know how you like it!

For more information, see or

COOCAFE is the only certified Fair Trade Cooperative in all of Costa Rica. They represent more than 3,500 small coffee producers in 9 independent Cooperatives throughout the country. One of them is CoopeSarapiqui.


For today's sponsors

Johnty, Liz, and Mark... how unfortunate that I am talking about coffee on a day that was sponsored out of a land full of tea drinkers... I hope you still find it interesting. Liz... how much Dutch did you learn during your visits to the Netherlands? Enough to read the poster on picture n° 5?