Buyer’s Notebook: Flecha Roja Costa Rica

Buyer’s Notebook: Flecha Roja Costa Rica

The Intelli Sourcing Sessions podcast is back, and just in time: last week marked the start of a month-long run of delicious releases from our Northern Hemisphere partners in Mexico, Central America and East Africa.

Today we resume our Buyer’s Notebook series — conversations about our coffees with the buyers who sourced them — starting with J Mlodzinski, logistics manager and green coffee buyer for Costa Rica. In that role, J’s primary responsibility is buying lots for our Flecha Roja Costa Rica offering, a perennial favorite and an anchor of our Central America lineup. Since the inception of  the Flecha Roja I-mark, we have sourced it from our friends at Coopedota, a cooperative whose meticulous and progressive approach to everything it does make it, in the estimation of my colleagues here at Intelligentsia, the best in the world. After my inaugural visit with Coopedota last fall as part of our Extraordinary Coffee Workshop, I found little reason to disagree with that assessment.

J and I discuss what makes Coopedota so special, which is only partly the specific practices it applies in the field, at the mill and in the way it runs its organization. The real secret of Coopedota’s success lies in something altogether less quantifiable — a culture that actively encourages members to pursue and achieve extraordinary outcomes at the individual, family and community levels. This commitment is revealed in many ways: engagement with visitors that is generous and spirited, coffee fields that are orderly and vigorous, a mill that hums with precision and efficiency, a spirit of experimentation and continuous improvement applied to everything the organization does, and, not least of all, the quality of its coffee.

Listen to my conversation with J here, or subscribe to the Intelli Sourcing Sessions podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud to have each new episode delivered to your feed.

Either way, keep this page open on your browser as you listen to put some visuals with the audio.

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The sign.

Hand-painted by a worker in Coopedota’s mill, this gem now lives with us here in our Chicago Roasting Works: “A machine can do the work of 50 men, but no machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”



The RueDota.

Coopedota’s solar-powered coffee Ferris Wheel: dries 4-6 times as much coffee as patio drying in its footprint, slows drying, boosts quality, looks cool.



Don Roberto Mata.

A natural born leader who helped instill a relentless pursuit of excellence at Coopedota over a period of more than 20 years.  We will miss you, friend!