HOW COFFEE IS BOUGHT AND SOLD (history and market)
Until recently, coffee in Costa Rica was, as is typically the case in most Latin American coffee countries, either grown by estates or by smallholder farmers who sold their cherries to cooperatives for processing and marketing. For smallholders, this meant almost a complete dependence on international market prices. Cooperatives were often unable to market Costa Rican coffees in such a way that they fetched higher than average (low) prices.
Starting around 2008, some enterprising smallholder farmers started asking for and receiving small loans from their local banks (from between $10-20,000 USD) and they used these loans to buy small versions of industrial wet milling equipment. Quite quickly, more and more producers began adopting this business model for their farms and thus the “micromill evolution” was born.
The timing of the micromill evolution fortuitously coincided with another evolution occurring throughout Australia, North America and Europe: that of specialty coffee roasters starting up micro-roasteries. Costa Rican micromill producers then found themselves with an open and eager marketplace for their specialized coffees. In addition to differentiating themselves by micromilling, many producers have found other ways of enticing specialty buyers, namely by experimenting with processing and the planting of exotic varieties. The planting of exotic varieties has especially taken off within the last few years, as farmers have gained more control over the management of their micromill operations.
OUR PARTNERS AT ORIGIN
Exclusive Coffee was established in 2008 and has been front and center since the beginning of Costa Rica’s “micromill evolution”, having partnered with some of the pioneering farmers of this movement. The Exclusive team works in three microregions — Central and West Valleys & Tarrazú — that they have identified as having the best potential for producing high quality coffee due to these regions’ altitudes, climate and soil conditions.
CCS co-founders, Robert and Bjørnar, have been working with Exclusive and some of their micromill partners since Exclusive’s beginning, initially through Kaffa Oslo, CCS’ sister-company. CCS too, has been working with Exclusive and its partners since its beginning in 2012.
Since then we have been establishing long and good partnerships with a handful of micromills that impresses us each season with new and exciting cup profiles coming from ever-ambitious processing techniques and an increasing number of different coffee varieties. Costa Rica is amongst the most cutting-edge of the coffee origins we work in. We are always curious to see what new innovations this constantly evolving origin has in store for us.
WHY Costa Rican COFFEES SHOULD BE PART OF YOUR MENU
Yellow Honey: floral, berries, stone fruit, sweet.
White Honey: dried fruit, macadamia nut, floral, tea-like.
How the price is constructed