A chance meeting in a Portland coffee shop with Javier of La Cumbre Coffee Group led me to standing in the middle of a coffee farm in Santa Rosa Guatemala. Javier and his brother Herbert are from Santa Rosa. Herbert still lives there with his family and together they have been working with the farmers in their village to produce high quality coffee and to bring the coffee directly to Portland roasters. I was intrigued by their story and made the trip to Guatemala to meet the farmers and see for myself what they were accomplishing.
Herbert picked me up at my hostel and we drove to Santa Rosa to tour the farms. He brought his friend, co worker, and neighbor Felipe to translate and I felt at ease right away. They were friendly, smiling and became instant friends. I don’t speak Spanish, but with Felipe along, coupled with the google translate app on my phone we communicated quite well.
The first farm belonged to Moses. There is a creek with a waterfall on his property and his coffee trees were interspersed with banana trees, other trees and plants. He told me “I work very hard to keep the water clean and pure for the coffee, I put my whole heart into the coffee to make it the best in all of Guatemala”. And it’s great coffee! It received excellent cupping scores and placed 4th in a nationwide competition. Next up was a family with a small farm. The wife does much of the processing and drying herself while her husband is at work. Their daughter helps also. Their coffee also scored well and had improved from the year prior from implementing a few of the practices that Felipe suggested. It has a unique flavor that is delicious. I’ll be buying Moses’ coffee for my AT roast and also coffee from the family for a side project. We were hungry after a long day so Felipe cooked a delicious meal for us and He and his wife Rous hosted me for the night at their home. I left the next day with coffee samples from Moses, honey from pollinated coffee flowers, and a touched heart. After seeing the hard work, care, and time these farmers put into their coffee I feel like I must give it the same care and attention to detail when roasting it. It was truly an unforgettable trip. The coffee is currently enroute by ship from Guatemala. Look for it soon in my AT roast. Try some yourself and experience a piece of Moses’ farm. Coffee truly is about the land, people, and our connection to it and each other.
Learn more about the farmers and La Cumbre Coffee group at https://lacumbrecoffeegroup.com/.