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Connecting Partners: Evergreen Foundation trip to Costa Rica

Two years ago, as we were leaving the Art of Giving Gala for the Evergreen Foundation, Bob Benck turned to me and said- "We should ramp it up- offer a trip to origin next year!" The group of us had had a great time that night- a table of Batdorf and Bronson staff and friends enjoying a meal together, buying some art for the stores, and feeling pretty good about supporting scholarships for one of our South Sound partners.

Fast forward to the following February, and we were so proud to stand with the winners of the trip we created with the development department- a coffee buying trip hosted by Bob, to visit our partners in Latin America.

Anne and Fern ride up the mountain Anne and Fern ride up the mountain

Bob worked with the winner, Anne Hume, over the next year, to choose the right origin to visit. They settled on Costa Rica, and that meant a trip to visit our partners at Hacienda La Minita and AFAORCA.

For over 20 years now we have been traveling to origin to work face to face with our farmers partners, and for decades we have supported local communities. Please understand, this is not humble bragging- just the facts; We were some of the first specialty roasters to begin origin travel, but this would be one of the first times we actually connected one of the great local institutions we support- our customers at Evergreen State College and their Scholarship Foundation, with those farmer partners.

Following the journey of coffee from seedling onward Following the journey of coffee from seedling onward

From day one The Right Way, our core statement of being, has directed us to make people and coffee be the center of the business- so this trip was a special one. It was a way for us to highlight what we love about our relationships in origin, with the shared cultural priorities of Evergreen alumni: Sustainability, having a global perspective while acting locally, and building lasting relationships that bridge the gap between the north and south.

A days work- not as easy as it looks! A day's work- not as easy as it looks!

The trip took Anne and her friend Fern to the high elevation mountainside fincas where coffee is grown, to the wet mills where coffee is sorted by hand, processed and dried before being set aside to rest. From walking amongst nursery plants and then picking coffee by hand from mature trees, to tending to pulped coffee in the wet mill and then the careful hand sorting, they got to really see coffee go from seed to cup. Along the way they spent time seeing just how many hands touch a single coffee bean before it even leaves origin- a lesson we impart to all of our baristas and to our wholesale customers when we talk about how precious this little seed is.

Fern learns that every bean starts with care and selection Fern picking coffee cherries- every bean starts with care and selection

In the best of worlds, we could take all of our customers to origin to truly learn what it means to partner with our farmer families! For now, we will just have to know that this trip with Anne and Fern, and their generosity that supports the Evergreen Foundation scholarships, have taken one more step towards the world we find when we share a cup of coffee with friends. If you have not tried these coffee yet- please come over here and see what we are talking about! Try our Costa Rica la Minita and our Organic Costa Rica.

Pura Vida! Pura Vida!
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