In Tarrazu there is a cooperative that runs like a clock, a very big and well calibrated clock. With more than 4,650 members from Tarrazu, a canton in the province of San Jose, Cooperativa de Caficultores de Tarrazú RL (Coopetarrazu) is designed to receive cherries from many small farms and consistently process their coffee into a well-balanced regional blend called La Pastora.
Like clockwork, a parade of vehicles of all sizes, from pick-up trucks to dump trucks coming from central receiving stations, arrive in the late afternoon full of cherries that were picked during the day. The cherries are quickly weight and placed in a large tank with water to remove the less dense beans that float to the top inside the cherry. Next the cherries are depulped and pass through a demucilager that mechanically strips the mucilage from the beans. All of this is done with a recycling water system. The washed beans move down from the wet-mill through a long elevated conveyor belt into a machine that uses forced air to shed any remaining water. The coffee then passes through a series of dryers to gently reduce the moisture to 11 percent. All of this happens in a matter of just over 72 hours, which seems fast until you stop to consider that not a minute is wasted in the process. After all this, the coffee is rested for a period of at least a month in silos and then milled for export with another equally impressive series of machines dedicated to dehulling and sorting green beans by weight and color.
Coopetarrazu has an equally intricate model of income diversification with a profitable agriculture supply store and grocery store. Cooperative members also have access to low interest loans and healthcare.