CSA + NGO = 100% Forward

Organikos had a life before Authentica, but when Authentica opened one year ago the context was different. The Adriatic island and the outpost in India were temporary homes where we were launching projects for clients. Costa Rica is where the entrepreneurial conservation work began, so now we were coming home to stay and build a platform of our own. The logic for Authentica? Several million visitors per year had become the norm for the country over the last couple decades. And for Organikos? On average one million bags of coffee went home in the luggage of those visitors each year, mostly to the USA. Authentica’s location in two of Costa Rica’s most successful hotels would allow Organikos coffee to increase that flow. Good logic, no question.

Until now. This year international tourism is a fraction of that norm, and next year is likely to be similar. It would be easy to see the glass as less than half full, but instead we are looking for ways to refill the glass. We want those million bags of coffee to reach all the people who have either already fallen in love with Costa Rica, or are yet to.

Particularly for those people who have come, or want to come to Costa Rica to support its conservation commitments, our goal now is to provide an alternative way to lend that support. With our coffee as a taste of place alternative while travel is on hold, we have set up a platform for roasting and delivering 4 of our 12 coffee selections in the USA. And we continue to commit that 100% of the profits from the sale of these coffees goes to bird habitat regeneration initiatives in Costa Rica. Our first such initiative is in progress, but we want to expand our conservation outreach. One way to do this might be by partnering with conservation NGOs in Costa Rica. We are starting to explore this option.

My Backstory With Coffee

SethMombachoThe image to the right is from twenty years ago, during my first foray into the world of coffee. It is not the most flattering photo, but it will do. I was eight, on location with my brother and parents at a worksite in Nicaragua. One part of the project was the development of a coffee tour, and my brother and I were tasked with testing how a young person might react to that experience. The expression on my face was, I suppose, a slightly embarrassed result of how little coffee I had managed to pick relative to the basket’s capacity. There was plenty of coffee to be picked, but these 20 years later I still remember how hard that work was.

SethGalapThe second foray was in 2011, back in the same region of Nicaragua, but as an intern documenting the coffee growing and maintenance process, as well as having the pleasure of zooming over a coffee plantation on a canopy tour zip line.

Just a year later, my third foray came when I spent the summer living on an organic farm freshly planted with coffee. What made it special, even spectacular, was that the farm was one of the rare private properties in the Galapagos Islands and was situated in the vicinity of the forests where the giant tortoises roam.

The fourth foray, which I wrote about in these pages, was between 2014 and 2016. I participated in each step from germination, to planting, harvesting, processing, roasting and cupping. I created a coffee tour on property that was an echo of the work done 15 years earlier in Nicaragua.

My fifth and most recent foray, over the last few years, has been the start up of Organikos. During the months leading up to starting graduate school I developed a plan with my parents to launch the coffee business as part of their Authentica venture. That brick and mortar retail approach worked out very well, until the world changed a few months ago. So now online and onward…