A group of farmers in 2001 decided to combine their communal strength to produce high quality coffee. This included 69 members forming the COMSA co-operative, short for Café Organico Marcala S.A. Their goal was mutual: to invest in organic production, rather than conventional. Nowadays, the COMSA co-operative is continually innovating and experimenting with organic practices, always with the emphasis on preserving local plant life. The area of Marcala, which is located in the mountain range of Montecillos, at heights between 1200 – 1700 masl, has great potential for the production of specialty coffees. Several coffees from this region have won prices in the Cup of Excellence.
This Marcala coffee is produced under strict norms of organic production, particularly focused on the re-establishment of the ecological balance and recovering the soil. The farmers promote diversification and biodiversity on their plantations. Part of these practices is the use of shade, chiefly from the Inga tree and other plants such as Citrus and Musa (banana) trees. The transition from conventional to organic came with its challenges, such as drops in crop yields and a loss of many members who left the organization. COMSA established an alliance with CEDECO (Corporacion Educativa para el Desarrollo Costarricense), who were able to assist them with innovative practices that enable farmers to transform to certified organic farms.