Category: Miscellanea

64. Lunch at Monte Cristo

I am 10 days and about 800 long-slog miles into a visit to the coffeelands in Nicaragua that will end tomorrow when I get on a flight home to Guatemala. One of the highlights of the visit so far was having lunch earlier this week with Don Jaime Molina on his Monte Cristo farm. Jaime placed second at the Nicaragua Cup of Excellence competition in April; a few days before our visit, his coffee sold at auction for $12.55 a pound.

22. Photos: A day in the life of a coffee cherry

The coffee harvest is just…irresistible. My eyes (and camera) are invariably drawn to the bright red of the coffee cherries, which make their way in just a few hours’ time from the trees where they are picked to a sticky rest in the fermentation tank — the truimphant conclusion of many months of patient maturation. Here are a few images documenting the last day in the life of some very special coffee cherries from Lake Atitlán in Guatemala.

17. Coffee with a view

I get paid – among other things – to travel to remote regions of the coffeelands to meet with farmers hear about their aspirations for their coffee and their families and do what I can to help them along the way. Every one of these visits is memorable in its way. But every once in a while, I get to visit places that are even more memorable than usual, like Tzampetey.

13. Photos: Dry mill details

I visited a dry mill in Oaxaca last week just as the harvest is getting into high gear. The mill was primed and ready, but almost totally empty. And spotless. Unlike all my past visits to dry mills during the peak of the post-harvest period, there was no activity at all. No people. No coffee. No roar of elevators or sorters to shout over. Perhaps that is why I was able to appreciate lots of beautiful little geometric details that have escaped my notice on previous visits.

9. Coffeelands: 1, Blogger: 0

Payback time. Earlier this week I confessed to taking some pleasure in seeing a few national champion baristas roll up their sleeves in Sustainable Harvest’s Seed-to-Cup Barista Challenge, and get humbled in the process. Then, I got mine — on a visit with an association of smallholder farmers in Guatemala on Tuesday, something went terribly wrong after I carried a sack of freshly picked coffee cherries to the wet mill.