By Liz Lozano, Klatch's Associate Bartisa Trainer
So as most of you know already, I just came back from the trip of a lifetime visiting the coffee farms in Central America. I was In El Salvador for 4 days visiting the Las Mercedes farm which is home to 5 of my favorite coffees. Everyone at Las Mercedes made me feel so welcome and like I was the newest member of the family. Then I headed to Guatemala and spent another week touring a number of farms and mills where I cupped coffees, met great people, and learned about the entire processing of coffee. I saw first-hand all the hard work that goes into my cup of coffee and I will never look at it the same way again. I appreciate it so much more now and this trip has made me fall in love with coffee all over again. There were so many great and interesting experiences throughout but the one thing that stood out to me were the relationships we're building with the farmers and just how important they are to us. Direct trade is really special not only because we're able to get great coffees but because we are able to work alongside the producers in fulfilling their needs and develop friendships that will stand the test of time. The experience of going to origin has broadened my perspective and deepened my appreciation for coffee and the livelihood it creates. People who make coffee, whether it is producers at the farm or the barista behind the counter, do it because they love it. I hope me sharing this with you will deepen your appreciation for it as it has me.