I’m sitting in the cafeteria of Building 25 on the sprawling Microsoft headquarters with an Oculus Rift headset strapped on my head. Swiveling from side to side, looking like a fool to anyone who doesn’t know what I’m up to, I virtually meet Enrique Navarro, a coffee grower based in Costa Rica. He shows me around his operation and describes the effort of turning his crops into cups of coffee in Seattle.
This virtual reality experience is just one example of how a Seattle startup called Onda Origins aims to transform the coffee business. The latest move is a foray into blockchain, the trendy technology that acts as distributed ledgers secured by powerful cryptography algorithms — it is the underpinning for Bitcoin — and could create new types of tech products and services.