"From Seed to Cup:" Learning about the Coffee Supply Chain in Costa Rica

During December 2013 and January 2014, fifteen students spent two weeks in Costa Rica, learning firsthand about the complete supply chain "seed to cup" within the context of the coffee industry. This was the second annual program "SCM 3690: Coffee Supply Chain in Costa Rica," one of the many faculty-led programs offered by the Walker College of Business each academic year.

With a focus on sustainability and on making transparent the supply chain, literally from coffee plant to steaming cup, this program equips business students with an in-depth undertsanding that is difficult to provide through textbook learning only. Working in coordination with businessman Don Cox of Bald Guy Brew, students explored the world of coffee, personally meeting some of the coffee producers that supply the beans we consume here in Boone, North Carolina.

Students helped to harvest berries on an organic (sustainable) farm in Costa Rica, observed the processing of berries into raw beans at a "beneficio", and participated in a focus group with organic farmers to discuss issues such as "fair trade". They met with distributors and shippers who export raw beans, roasted raw coffee beans, and "cupped" roasted beans for a coffee tasting.In addition, they had the opportunity to explore some of Costa Rica's many natural wonders, with travel to beaches along the Pacific coast, horsebackriding, and exploring the jungle canopy with zip-line tours,

Coffee is part of a commodity-based supply chain with unique challenges for both producers and c100_0368_0.JPGonsumers. Students of the program delved into these issues through additional research, which they at Bald Guy Brew's local headquarters in Valle Crucis, North Carolina.

This year, Dr. Ken Corley and Don Cox will again return to Costa Rica with students interested in this experiential learning program. For more information visit:http://international.business.appstate.edu/programs/scm-3690-coffee-supp...

You can also view a photo gallery or a video from the 2012-14 program.

Published: Jul 25, 2014 2:51pm