THRIVE Farmers Coffee

for Inc. Magazine

“25% of Costa Rica is protected land!” Amazing. “I once watched a sloth slowly cross the road!” I am jealous. “This village is known for having the best climate in the world!” Is that actually true? 

In 48 hours I drove over 300km around Costa Rica with Kenneth Lander, a co-founder of THRIVE Farmers Coffee. He was the most jovial of tour guides, excitedly sharing facts as we bounced between coffee farms. THRIVE Farmers is a rare narrative. With their innovative business model, farmers are given direct access to the marketplace, and their families benefit by making a much larger percentage per sale. Inc. Magazine asked me to capture the beauty of Costa Rica and the lives of the impacted farmers to showcase THRIVE’s debut at #19 on the annual Inc. 500 list.

When we first arrived in the field of Lydia Matamoros and Oscar Morería’s farm, with mountains in the distance and a sea of waxy leaves stretching out before us, they pointed to a bunch of red and green spheres. “Coffee is a fruit!?” I asked, incredulously. I learned that a coffee bean is actually a seed, found inside a coffee cherry. The beans begin their lives as a pale green, and only turn the warm dark brown we know and love once they are roasted. I was not afraid to admit my ignorance as I reminded myself how far I feel from the food products I eat and drink on a daily basis. This series is a celebration (and education!) of the people and the process of bringing coffee from the fog-filled jungles of Costa Rica, to the morning mug on your kitchen table.

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