Field Study and Service-Learning MediaBlog

12 March, 2008

San Ramón: Family Organic Coffee Production

 Organic Coffee Harvesing
A family business harvesting organic coffee in San Ramon. Here they are separating the red beans from the few green ones and also removing rotten beans. The whole family is involved in this enterprise. One of the many challenges for organic coffee growers in Costa Rica is the lack of organic processing plants near the coffee farms. The wide fluctuation in market prices has discouraged farmers from forming organic cooperatives because at current rates, conventional practices are more lucerative. Modernization has caused more family members to take jobs in cities and there are fewer family laborers in rural areas. In order for the organic farmers to be compensated for the extra labor costs they endure, organic coffee should be priced 38% higher than conventional coffee.

Organic Coffee Processing
In order to be certified organic, the facility that processes the coffee must process only organic berries. Gary sells his coffee to a local processing plant about 15 minutes away from La Patriana Farm. It is a family run, small scale plant whose facilities are located at the house of Pablo and his family. One shed contains the machine that separates the coffee beans from the berries. Outside behind the shed, there are wooden shelves covered in plastic where the beans are dried. We were lucky to see the plant in action and watched as the machine took in the red berries and expelled white coffee beans and berry pulp. The berries are then sent elsewhere to be roasted and the pulp is used for compost.

Author: Lisa Rogers