Costa Rica: A Return to Origins

This blog will capture the experiences and learnings of our TWELVE Canadian participants.
Check back daily for updates and new postings.

Introducing a new Origin Experience program

Last February, the first group of Starbucks partners traveled to Costa Rica to take part in the pilot Origin trip. Less than a year later, another twelve Canadian partners have been awarded the same opportunity to visit, learn, harvest and truly experience life at our farms in Costa Rica. Follow along and learn from their daily adventures. Through this powerful first-hand experience, partners will be better able to understand and articulate ethical sourcing practices, quality standards and relationship with farmers. It will also help us create a network of passionate advocates to inspire customers and other partners, as well as serve as coffee leaders.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

We are home now, & so eager to host our first tastings, & to share more of our journey with you all! We will never look at coffee or a coffee tasting quite the same again! A wealth of new, & deeper knowledge and a closeness to the people within our Farmer Support Center, as well as Costa Rica, has changed that for all of us, for the better. Here are just a few of my favorites from the last 3 days! Enjoy!
Seedling plants at the nursery, Pam taking a soil sample during her learning's with Earthwatch, a photo with one of our farmers - Ernesto & wife Carmen at Coope Dota, a farmer bringing in his coffee cherries for weighing, & processing, beans that have been washed, but have parchment still on & will go to drying stage next, our leader Cindy, raking beans to help them dry, parchment, Orlando & Carlos Mario from our Farmer Support Center, planting a coffee tree, volcanic soil, our Cafe Practices sign hangs in the mill at Las Marias, green coffee ready for tasting, shipping.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Costa Rica quick check in

It is the end of day 2 and the 12 of us have got our hands dirty picking and absorbing coffee cherries, and our minds filled with learnings on C.A.F.E. practices, Fairtrade, and Earthwatch.
The coffee farmers have a competency for growing coffee like we have for growing people. Yesterday we spent time at well known coffee farm Bella Vista F.W. , today at Coopetarrazu, and Cooperative de Dota which is also Rain Forest Certified. More tomorrow....the 12 Canadians!

Day Two...Origins Experience Costa Rica

....of course, Day Two started with a coffee tasting, a tasting that paid "Tribute" to our Partners and customers celebrating 40 years of Starbucks. Yes we had our first taste of the new Starbucks Tribute Blend! That was followed by a detailed presentation from the Earthwatch Institute learning how Earthwatch & Starbucks partner with farmers in Costa Rica to develop tools and practices that facilitate sustainable coffee cultivation. The bus ride day one was a vacation compared to today! Learning #2, it takes a long 3.5 hour bus ride into the mountains and up 6000 feet in elevation to find the best coffee in the world and it's worth it! A small price to pay to get to the Tarrazu region and and spend the morning on a 3 hectare family farm. We dialed up our coffee education completing coffee tree analysis, taking soil samples, studying the ground, shade trees etc... Lunch was hosted by CoopeTarrazu, one of the regions coffee cooperatives. After lunch we visited the Coope Dota coffee mill (Video attached) learning even more about the washed processing method. The bus ride back included a detailed discussion of C.A.F.E. practices and Fair Trade with the best coffee argronomists in the world from our Farmer Support Center and SCTC. Tomorrow.... Coffee Tree planting and even more Coffee Agronomy education at Finca Las Marias!

More from day 1...

Day 1 was a jammed packed day. We started the day with group introductions and Dub sharing information about CAFE practices, Starbucks Coffee Trading Company, Green Coffee Quality and so much more. We then traveled to a nursery where we saw seedlings that were just 6 months old and ready for planting in the next two months. We then moved on to the infamous Bella Vista Estate where we could not wait to get off the bus to pick some coffee cherries. We also learned about caring for coffee trees. Then we hiked over steep hills at high elevation to witness the farmers bringing in their pick for the day. We wrapped up the day at the mill where we saw the freshly picked coffee being processed.

Our ride home on the bus was very quiet while we reflected on the days events. Time to rest up for another adventure tomorrow. Stay tuned for more details.
Heather, Sheilagh, Jennifer, Jane

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day One - Parallels

Parallels - First 10 feet, Last 10 feet, operators in the store, operators on a farm.
Partners in Canada, Partners in United States and Costa Rica. Passion, expertise, quality and care go into everything we do because we have pride in who we are, who we work for and what we do, every day