Mar. 11, 2016
This is an Instagram-travelogue consisting of a few 'grams shot during Tom's recent trip to Mexico and Guatemala. Our Instagram page has more travel pics as well.
Training local cuppers is one of the best ways to share an understanding of coffee quality and value. Having local youth, often the daughters and sons of coffee farmers, learning more about cup taste is important. They are an important part of aligning farmer practices with better cupping results, and better prices for coffee ultimately. It's a long process but it has to start sometime, and for most of the people on this photo that was just 4 days ago! 17 were trained on Q cuppers basics by Concepcion (in the black apron) and Ian and I joined them for a session to bring in a buyers perspective in a program run by Manel of ImpactoCafe in Chiapas. @axiomcoffeeventures
My latest bright idea. I wanted a way to check temperatures of coffee in full sun vs. under shade trees, as well as plants with less leaves due to Roya vs healthy ones. So I brought a thermal camera along. I'm not sure how useful this will be. I mean, you can tell from experience that walking into shaded coffee the temperature drops, and this can create a micro environment that is better for the metabolism of the coffee plant. Anyway, toys. This is a Roya affected Typica variety plant, not under direct shade. #shadegrowncoffee
Can you believe I asked someone to take this photo? Well, I am a coffee tourist after all. My left hand is in Huehuetenango Guatemala and my right is in Chiapas Mexico. With coffee trees planted about 15 feet from me on the north and south, it's an example of how nuts it is we sell coffee by nationality. It's something so entrenched in the "specialty" coffee trade from the 70s and 80s but it makes little sense. I've never figured out an alternative. Ideas? #Chiapas #Huehuetenango #confused
My Xinabajul people today - what an amazing hike to the highlands above the coffee farms here in #Huehuetenango through beautiful native forests set in thick fog. At the top you could look down at three different coffee communities from this perch, pushing 3000 meters. The Recinos family brought the stove for coffee water, and we talked a lot about what the environment here means to them. Coffee is so striking; the houses of all these farmers has coffee trees touching the walls on all sides. They live with their crop. Nobody needs to tell them how directly the coffee process affects their families. They all use fertilizer and spray for Roya, but they do it with this awareness. They also all compost extensively, maintain shade trees, and have catchments for coffee processing water. The problem here is still illegal logging though, and it takes some greater political will to stop this. Hopefully it's coming because these people are ready for it.
Has it been a whole week since I posted a #dogsofcoffee photo? Here is a potential calendar candidate for next year. It's hard to tell but this dog had the most amazing markings, especially on his forelegs. This was from yesterday's small-holder farm visits at a very neat Mayan community with coffee at super altitudes.
Looking over the film I just got back from Guatemala and I wants to highlight this gentleman, Herculino Lopez. Here's a guy farming coffee (and tending bees) at 1900 meters who has been selling all his coffee at base levels on the local market, but, just out of pride of work, does an amazing job with his care of the coffee plants. A farmer like Herculino with really good quality potential is the kind of person I live to meet, because historically he has been shut off from the opportunity to sell coffee at a better price by too many factors to list here. But one worth highlighting is that he can't put coffee in a competition because his farm is too small and (most importantly) he can't wait months to get paid for his parchment coffee. I'll be honest, his processing method needs some improvements, and we discussed it at length. So maybe next harvest, yes, 1900m Herculino coffee. #Guatemala #TriX400
Coffee and light. The surprising thing about this photo is that it's at 1900 meters in Oaxaca Mexico and its Bourbon. Factoring in the distance to the equator, this is some seriously high grown coffee, higher than I though possible for the region. And the fact this is replanted coffee, a young Bourbon nonetheless, after Roya swept through the area 4 years ago, is quite a nice surprise. In other areas farmers are only planting Sarchimor and Catimor hybrids after Roya took its toll. They are wise to do so in many cases. But I'm so glad to see others who, because of their local climate and potential for high quality coffee, choose to replant the old varieties of coffee. #sierramixteca #Oaxaca #mexico #bourboncoffee