I was a barista for a long time. Then became a roaster to get closer to the source of coffee. When I started traveling and buying green coffee my world truly truly changed and just when I thought I didn’t have the capacity to love coffee more….well, I did.
Traveling to coffee producing countries and meeting up with producers was a life changing gig for me. I have never learned as much as I did talking to producing families and pickers at coffee farms. I learned a ton beyond just coffee terminology. I learned about what it is truly like to devote your life to coffee production. It’s hard work. Lots of hard work, and for the exemplary producers it’s an all year thing though you only have one harvest (some exceptions apply here). This is really their livelihood. When I visited everyone felt like family. I will proudly say that my Latino roots kicked in big time, as I immediately connected with families as if they were my own in Latin America. I found my calling with speaking with them not only as a potential buyer, but as a REAL ally. When you talk about coffee at the producer level, not about export/import or customs/contracts...well, it isn’t romantic, it’s real. I think if every person that consumes coffee every day, had a chance to travel and meet the person that produced the coffee they love and opened their hearts and mind and learned directly from the source how they get their coffee every day, the world I deeply believe would be a better place. I miss traveling to visit folks that to this day I call friends and family. I am hopeful that in the future I can return to see them, check in on how the farms are doing and how their kids are growing up. Coffee isn’t just what is in our cups. Coffee is humanity and I say that with total seriousness. I could go on and on about this stuff, and maybe I will. For now though just think about what it would take to trace back that cup you had this morning and how powerful it really could be if everyone took the time to do so.