Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Guate travels: Juan

One of the days that we went to Alberto's field he took us to his son Juan's farm to meet his family. They were great and their coffee trees were very well maintained.

Due to the height difference of the trees and Juan's family who picks the cherries. The first picture shows how they work around this issue. They use a rope tied to the tree and pull is down with a hook tied to a stump on the ground. That enables them to get the cherries at the very top of the tree.

The next picture is Juan picking some of his great coffee. And the third picture is of his wife.

Their work is a whole family affair, Juan's daughters, wife, and Father (Alberto) all work the fields to produce the wonderful coffee that makes up La Armonia Hermosa.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter Seasonal Drink Competition

Congratulations Jim Lindsay! He is our 2010 Spring Seasonal Drink Competition Winner.

Check out his delicious Marshmallow Mocha Latte on our website. Now this is not your average Mocha... check it out!

Jim Lindsay stated, "The snow and making hot cocoa, with marshmallows, for the kids inspired it, so I know it's perfect for coming in to from being out in the cold weather!"

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Home Sweet Home

John, Les, and Jamie are all back from a great trip in Guatemala.

There were so many great things that happened this trip that we will continue to update the blog with new photos and stories from this past month.

The first image is of Demetrio, one of the new farmers of La Armonia Hermosa Coffee. He is showing us his large arabica trees. He has a wide assortment of coffee trees of all ages and an assortment of shade trees. He's great! Incredibly animated, and very passionate about his crop.

The second image is Demetrio walking back from his farm to the path probably carrying about 40 pounds worth of jocote (a tropical fruit) on his back! The incredible part is he is 56 years old and barely broke a sweat!

Also incredible is this path that he and all the other farmers have to walk up with all of their products to go back up to Santa Maria from their farm! Wow... these guys are strong and fit! You didn't want to see us after climbing this hill without anything on our backs.

The last image is John and Les talking with Demetrio about his crop this year and eveything that goes into it. Very exciting!

Next edition: Juan's farm and family

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Monday, February 8, 2010

El Salvador: Casa de la Tia Nena

During our trip to Guatemala, we came in contact with Rodolfo, a finca owner in El Salvador close to Santa Ana who is part of the organization called Casa de la Tia Nena. He requested that we come down to visit his family's finca (camp). It was a great experience as we learned the coffee processes in El Salvador. Their farm/beneficio is much larger than the one we work with in Santa Maria. Rodolfo is incredibly hospitable and very willing to show us around. We learned a lot from both him and his land. Here are a few pictures from our trip...

The first image is of unripe coffee drying (with the cherries still on the bean) on the patio of Rodolfo's brother-in-law. When they sort the ripe coffee cherries from the unripe coffee, they keep the unripe cherries to use for themselves and dry them on patios around their land.

The second image is of a coffee tree nursery. Notice how good these seedlings look.

The third image is of the bags of coffee cherries that the pickers picked. Imagine carrying one of those on your back up a huge hill!

The fourth image is of Rodolfo weighing the bags of cherries that have been picked by his pickers. When Rodolfo took us around his land he had us walk up the mountains like the pickers do. We, however, didn't have 100 lbs of coffee strapped to our backs. The agility, strength, and determination of these pickers are incredible. I'm fairly in shape, and I was huffing, puffing and falling all over the place.

The fourth image is of their beneficio (wet mill). This is a large scale beneficio. The one we are constructing in Santa Maria will not be this large.

The fifth image is of Rodolfo giving Les some green samples of his coffee (these beans are not roasted) to take back for Vienna Coffee to sample roast. Notice in the background that they have a large warehouse full of coffee ready to be shipped to different roasters around the country.

Like I mentioned before, the trip was very informative. We hope to continue the relationship with Rodolfo, and see if we can help each other in the future.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Guate travels: Pictures

Interested in what we have been doing while in Guatemala? Here is a brief picture summary of what we've been up to...

The first picture is outside of John's window the first two nights he was in Antigua.

We then went to Dometrio's land. We are taking a little break eating Jocotes. One of Dometrio's shade crops over his coffee trees.

These are the "chicken" buses that take people to and from the different villages and cities in Guatemala.

John, Les, and Jamie took a nice relaxing lunch at Epicure. It had a beautiful plaza in the middle of it, and the food was spectacular! We even received complimentary chocolate/ginger truffles.... yumm.

Then the day before John left for his "origin" tour with the Roaster's Guild, we all went to a great vineyard in Santa Maria which is supposedly the only winery in Central America. It is new, but has tasty wine and is in a BEAUTIFUL location!

The last photos is of the casa where we were able to taste the wine, and there's a little restaurant inside too. Also, Les was able to talk with the owner of the vineyard (Château Defay), and they might be willing to sell La Armoñia Hermosa coffee by the bag and by the cup at the winery.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

John in Guatemala

John made his way from Atlanta to Guatemala city this past week in preparation to take an "origin" tour of different beneficios (coffee mills) and fincas around Guatemala with the Roaster's Guild.

Before his official tour John spent the weekend with Les, Jamie and the farmers of Santa Maria de Jesus. These are pictures of John depulping 250 pounds of coffee! Now that's a lot of coffee!

In the first picture Julio, Les and John are picking out the green (unripe) cherries before they go through the depulper. These exact beans were picked by some new farmers who have decided to join the co-op. We are excited to have them because they had some of the best picked coffee we've seen. "Solo rojo."

The second picture is of John actually cranking the depulper. The cherries go from the top and get squished along the copper grate which pushes the beans out of the cherry pulp. This is some tiring work. The stuff coming out at the bottom of the depulper is only the pulp that is later composted back into the soil.

The third picture is the beans coming out of the depulper. There are a few of the cherries left with the beans, but those will be sorted out in the washing process.

More updates from the field coming soon...

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