News » Coffee mills complete process of GHG and water inventory measurement


During this year, the coffee mills participating in the Coffee NAMA worked hard to determine inventories of their greenhouse gas emissions and their water consumption during coffee processing. In addition, several energy efficiency audits were carried out by the Costa Rican Industry Chamber. The activities were organized by ICAFE and MAG with the support of GIZ.

From March to October 2017, 55 representatives of 48 coffee mills from seven of Costa Rica´s eight coffee growing regions participated in a series of workshops to firstly understand the basic concepts of greenhouse gas (GHG) and water inventories and then learn how to measure these in their mills. Recently, two new coffee mills were welcomed to the project that will begin with the determination of their GHG and water inventories in 2018.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory calculation

As the coffee mills´ main objective in the scope of the Coffee NAMA is to reduce their GHG emissions by changing technologies and improving efficiency at the level of coffee processing, it is essential to determine current GHG emissions in order to verify possible reductions over time.

The coffee mills participated in a process that included determining the main sources of GHG emission on the farm and at the mill, measuring the emissions generated by said sources and calculating the mill´s carbon footprint. In 20 workshops the participants were trained in the norm B5: 2016, ISO 14064-1-2-3 for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals. In addition, more than 80 follow-up visits were made in order to offer the mills´ support throughout the entire process.

Main emission sources in which the mills must reduce their emissions correspond to the residual waste from coffee processing, biomass consumption and fertilizers (in the case of those mills that included their farm in its scope). In order to measure future emission reductions through the implementation of mitigation actions, the mills established a baseline based on the 2015-2016 harvest.

The emissions generated by all mills amount to a total of approximately 20,000 t CO2e with an average carbon footprint of 1.28 kg CO2e per kg of green coffee including farm and mill emissions. With this result all partnering coffee mills are able to call their coffee low carbon, as they mill´s carbon footprint lies below the international limit of a maximum of 2 kg CO2e per kg green coffee. Several of them have been able to present this coffee  to roasters in Germany and at events such as the Feria Alemana as well as recently at  TASTE Costa Rica in Sintercafe.

Several mills have already implemented several changes in coffee processing: Two mills from the Los Santos region and the Western Valley have acquired new composting equipment to accelerate the decomposition process of the coffee waste, which has been reduced from months to mere weeks.

Water consumption inventories

During this year, the 34 advanced mills also tackled the measurement of their carbon footprint, which determines the main sources of water consumption during coffee processing. The data will allow mills to understand their water use as well as develop management plans that allow water conservation. In two training workshops and three follow-up visits per mill, all 34 learned how to measure their inventories and determine their water footprint. The mills use an average of approximately 20 liters per kg of green coffee during the entire coffee processing.

Energy efficiency audits

Additionally, the Coffee NAMA encourages the capacity development in the measurement and improvement of coffee processing concerning energy efficiency. Several audits were carried out at the beginning of 2017 at the 34 advanced coffee mills, contemplating the potential for improvement in energy efficiency as well as the use of renewable energy for their coffee processing. Likewise, a graphic representation for each coffee mill was developed, showcasing its electrical equipment and corresponding energy consumption, as well as a pre-feasibility study of technological options or processes that can be implemented in order to reduce GHG emissions and save energy as well as reduce costs.


The project is currently working with the following coffee mills: 

Central Valley
Beneficio ICAFE, Beneficios Las Marías, Coopelibertad, Beneficio Ecológico Cerro Alto

Los Santos
Beneficio Ecológico El Cedro, Beneficio Luvima de Tarrazú (Don Mayo), Beneficio Santa Elena S.A, CECA S.A, COOPEDOTA R.L, Coopetarrazu, Farami, Micro Beneficio La Cruz de Tarrazu, Pira de Dota, Rio Conejo, Santa Teresa, Vista al Lago, Montaña de Tarrazu

Cafetalera Aquiares, Grupo Naturalba, Microbeneficio y Tostadora Gamboa Ltda

West Valley
Aprocetu, Beneficio Genesis, Cloza de Alajuela SA, Coopeatenas (Montañas del Diamante), Coopevictoria, Coopronaranjo R.L., Ecológico El Espino, El Diamante, El Sitio S.R.L., Hermanos Vargas Hidalgo, La Eva, Las Lajas, Los Panchos, Santa Anita, Santa Eduviges, Sircof Oviedo, Vikingo Real, Coopepalmares, Cordillera de Fuego

ASOMOBI, Coopesabalito, CooproSanVito R.L., Marespi, Coopeagri, Coopeassa


Coopecerroazul, Coopeldos, Coopepilangosta (Beneficio Matambu), Unión Varsan Monteverde