Coffee: A Love Affair

By Karl Baumgarten, KF9, Costa Rica

4,000,0000 cups per year. 10,958,904 cups per day. 42 beans per cup.  460,273,968 beans per day. And they all have to be picked one by one by one. My fingers hurt just thinking about it. Every cup we make  is the culmination of an incredibly involved process that we all should appreciate.

Below is a video of the coffee process at AsoProLa, an organic coffee company which processes coffee from small scale farmers in Altamira, many of whom have micro-loans with FUDECOSUR


Music by: JPMounier  Introduction video: Coffee Insitute (1961)

 Last week, I had the pleasure of accompanying David, a credit officer with FUDECOSUR, to Altamira for the monthly credit committee meeting. Altamira is a small village bordering la Parque de La Amistad, a National Park straddling the Costa Rican-Panamanian border still yet untouched by the hop on-hop off tourist brigade that covers so much of this small country. Altamira is coffee country, where the altitude helps cultivate a rich Arabica blend and the lack of oxygen ensures a light head to go with it.

David navigating our way through the backroads of Parque de La Amistad

Each month, David travels 4 hours to reach Altamira and meet with the credit committee, a group elected by the people of Altamira to run the village bank. The village bank is funded and supervised by FUDECOSUR where David oversees new credit disbursal and interest and principal repayments. The meetings take place at AsoProLa, an organization working to educate coffee producers and promote rural tourism. Every meeting ends just the way it should in Altamira, with good company and a strong cup of coffee, 2 heaping spoonfuls of sugar for the ticos, black for me.

The Altamira credit committee enjoying a well deserved cup of coffee after the meeting.

Please consider asking your local coffee house to support the small-scale coffee farmers it relies on. They can do this by making a loan on or creating a lending team  to promote their business and social awareness. You could also  convince them to place a simple print out of a Kiva borrower profile near their cash register to help garner support for and small scale farming. If you are interested in the work FUDECOSUR is doing in Southern Costa Rica, please join our lending team, Friends of FUDECOSUR. You can support coffee farmers in Latin America by browsing the current fundraising loans here.


Karl Baumgarten is serving as a Kiva Fellow working with the new field partner FUDECOSUR in San Isidro, Costa Rica


About the author