OUR ASSOCIATE BARISTA TRAINER, LIZ LOZANO ON HER FIRST ORIGIN TRIP. READ HER EL SALVADOR WRAP-UP STORY.
Buenos Dias from Central America! Mike and I have just landed in Guatemala and are enjoying the view of Antigua on the terrace of our little hotel. The city is beautiful, bustling with people, and the old Spanish buildings are holding strong. The experience of visiting origin has been amazing so far. I was in El Salvador for four days and got to visit several farms: Las Mercedes, Kilimanjaro (all organic) and Carrazul amongst others.
As soon as we landed off the red eye flight from LAX it was go, go, go. I’ve been able to witness the entire process of how we get our coffee from picking the cherries, to sorting, the wet and dry milling process, and more. I’m learning a LOT. I watched the pickers collect cherries on steep mountain sides - I could barely walk on; in fact I fell and hurt my knee the first day. They seem to have no trouble balancing while carrying large baskets filled with beautiful cherries. I even picked and tasted several cherries myself (muy bueno).
I toured several mills and found each unique in its own way. I was amazed how many people were involved in this systematic process that combined technology with tradition. Seeing this opened my eyes into how much work goes into my daily cup of coffee.
At Las Mercedes I was impressed by how much they are concerned with their community. They are putting a lot of time and energy into developing a clinic that provides medical treatment to people from 10 local communities.
I’ve met the most interesting producers who seems just as concerned about where their coffee is going and maintaining the highest quality for the consumers, as we are about roasting and preparing the coffee for our customers.
Meeting an all organic farmer, Aida Battle, was a pleasure. She spoke about her beliefs in organic and romance for coffee. I felt like I was in a movie when she was driving us to the farm, through a gritty neighborhood, blasting her new favorite Eminem song. She is awesome and so is her coffee.
My favorite moment has got to be going to Jose Antonio’s farm and stopping to mingle with the pickers who were sorting cherries - such a sight! At first glance they seemed shy but as soon as I said hello and smiled they light up with huge similes. Workers of all ages were sorting, cooking, and resting from the day.
Next up I get to visit the home of my favorite coffee. You all know what it is, Guatemala Covadonga from Robert Sanchez Lazo.