Today we began our coffee journey by taking a bio-coffee adventure at Coope Dota, which is one of the leading coffee producers in the world. Located in the downtown area of Dota in the Tarrazu region some of the world’s finest coffee is produced here. We began the adventure through a step-by-step walk through from harvest to package. Through each of these steps we experienced hands on interaction literally walking through each phase within the facility itself.
- Once the coffee cherries arrive to the plant from the farms they are released into an empty pool where water is then poured over the cherries in order to remove the outer layer called the pulp. Once the pulp is removed the fermentation process begins causing the layer of honey around the bean to separate. This process takes 6-10 hours.
- After this, the beans are laid outside in the sun to begin the drying process. They will remain outside for 24 hours.
- Next they are put into a 27 foot oak wood silo to control the temperature and humidity of the beans. The beans remain here for at least one month to “rest”.
- Once the beans are ready to be packaged they are placed into rotary dryers, which use hot air to finalize the drying process.
- Once dry, the beans are sorted based on color and weight using various machines. The heavier the bean, the better the quality!
90% of these beans are placed in burlap sacks and exported internationally where the purchasing country will roast and package them. The remaining 10% legally must remain in Costa Rica. These beans then move to a different facility where they are roasted and packaged. The medium roast is the most popular amongst the Costa Rican people but they also produce small quantities of light and dark roast beans. Once roasted the beans are placed into packaging specific to the company that is purchasing them.
Cope Dota implements several sustainable practices in their coffee process procedures.
- The waste water from the fermentation process is emptied into a ditch on site. This water is then pre-heated, boiled and vaporized into steam resulting in ethanol. The ethanol from this process accounts for 8% of the fuels used to power vehicles in Costa Rica. In the past, this waste water was dumped into the river leading to severe pollution.
- The honey left over from the fermentation process is used to generate methane which is used to power some of the machines used at the plant. The pulp is almost completely burned as fuel. The parchment (the outer coating of the bean) and pulp are used as fuel for the rotary dryers almost completely replacing the 30 acres of forest used annually prior to this sustainable practice.
Nearing the end of our adventure, we participated in a coffee tasting to evaluate the different qualities of the coffee produced at the plant. The coffee is rated on several factors including, fragrance/aroma, flavor/after taste, acidity, body, uniformity/balance, and clean cup/sweet. Check out the video below to see how we tasted the coffee.
We finished up our adventure competing among one another in teams to see who could pick the most coffee beans off of the coffee trees. See picture below!
Lastly we went to Coope Dota’s café where we received our choice of either cappuccino, black coffee, coffee con leche (milk), or frozen coffee. Delicioso!
This entire experience blew our taste buds! A few of our personal favorite aspects of the adventure include the bean picking competition, and the hands on opportunity to actually touch, move, and experience the coffee beans in the production process!
- Breaking the cup = when tasting coffee, swirl the cup of coffee grounds and 93degree water while inhaling the aroma of the coffee for 7 seconds
- Cleaning the cup = during the coffee tasting process, removing the foam from the top of each cup
- The majority of the 800 farmers involved in Coope Dota are certified as part of the rainforest alliance
Sarah, Kaylee, Christine
Bryant University Sustainability Marketing 385