Meeting our Farmers and Giving Back in Costa Rica
Mukilteo Coffee Roasters has been purchasing coffees directly from the growers at Santa Elena Coffee Farm in Costa Rica since 2010. Buying directly from the farmers allows us to have more input into the taste and quality of the coffee. While this may seem obvious, it’s not standard in an industry where brokers normally serve as middle men between international growers and sellers here in the U.S.
“It works out really well,” says our Founder, Gary Smith. “We can see where our coffee is being grown, we can see their practices and make sure there aren’t chemicals or pesticides being used, and we’re able to work closely with the growers to produce an incredible product.”
But the quality of the coffee isn’t the only benefit of buying farm-direct.
“Really, we started out doing it for the quality, but the real reward has been all the incredible relationships we’ve made with the farmers and the customers, and the opportunity to meet so many incredible people.”
After several years of working together with Santa Elena’s farmers, Mukilteo Coffee wanted to give back to that community in recognition of their hard work and to honor the partnership that has developed between us.
Gary explains: “Not only do we want to provide exceptional coffee and philanthropy to our community, we wanted to give back to our farming community as well.”
Mukilteo Coffee Roasters’ Gary and Brenna, recently traveled to Costa Rica so they could do just that. They went to Santa Elena to visit the farm, watch the harvest, and sample the coffee. This visit also marked the forming of a partnership (between Mukilteo Coffee Roasters, Pacific Coffee and the Vashon Island Coffee Foundation) to begin construction of a community park for the children of Santa Elena.
“Visiting the farms is very important to us. We get to see the passion that the farmers have for growing coffee, and they get to know our passion for roasting. It helps them appreciate all their hard work for us because they understand that we care about the coffee.”
“We also met some of our Asian clients in Costa Rica, and they were able to see where the coffee they purchase from us comes from and how it gets to the cup. That was very cool for the farmers too, because a lot of them don’t know where their coffee ends up. They love the fact that it is sent to Hong Kong, mainland China, and all over the world.”
Having the resources to be able to give back to communities like Santa Elena is very important to Gary, his wife Beth, and all of us here at Mukilteo Coffee Roasters.