Update from the Field - Santa Maria de Jesus

At the beneficio - Front R - L: Pocho, Denis, Flavio, China;  Back R - L: Manuel, Robin, Les, Eric, Julio

At the beneficio - Front R - L: Pocho, Denis, Flavio, China;

Back R - L: Manuel, Robin, Les, Eric, Julio

Julio at the beneficio  (the mountain in the background is called the rooster)

Julio at the beneficio

(the mountain in the background is called the rooster)

Installing the generators to get the lights and depulper running

Installing the generators to get the lights and depulper running

The beneficio with coffee drying. Volcan Picaya is in the background

The beneficio with coffee drying. Volcan Picaya is in the background

Les Stoneham of Deeper Roots Development and Jamie Stoneham (owner, John Clark's daughter) is currently traveling in Guatemala to work the farmer's of our delicious La Armonia Hermosa coffee. Here's an update from their trip.

As we hear on the news of negative degrees in Tennessee, we are here in Guatemala with 50 - 75 degree weather. We couldn't ask for better temperatures. Just as great as the temperature is, the atmosphere around the newly constructed beneficio (coffee wet mill) is buzzing with excitement. Today we brought down the mechanical depulper and installed the generators to power the lights and the depulper.  

The dream of having their own wet mill is finally coming to fruition. All of the hard work and planning is about to pay off as the picking season is about to come into full swing. Soon they will be able to use the mechanical depulper instead of the bike powered depulpers which will cut the processing time by 2/3rds and provides a more eco-friendly alternative when washing the coffee. This depulper will also improve the quality of the coffee through better sorting, washing, and consistent pulping.

We are very excited, just like they are, for this new addition to their newly constructed beneficio, and look forward to seeing Julio's field later this week.

Guate travels: Juan

One of the days that we went to Alberto's field he took us to his son Juan's farm to meet his family. They were great and their coffee trees were very well maintained.

Due to the height difference of the trees and Juan's family who picks the cherries. The first picture shows how they work around this issue. They use a rope tied to the tree and pull is down with a hook tied to a stump on the ground. That enables them to get the cherries at the very top of the tree.

The next picture is Juan picking some of his great coffee. And the third picture is of his wife.

Their work is a whole family affair, Juan's daughters, wife, and Father (Alberto) all work the fields to produce the wonderful coffee that makes up La Armonia Hermosa.

El Salvador: Casa de la Tia Nena

During our trip to Guatemala, we came in contact with Rodolfo, a finca owner in El Salvador close to Santa Ana who is part of the organization called Casa de la Tia Nena. He requested that we come down to visit his family's finca (camp). It was a great experience as we learned the coffee processes in El Salvador. Their farm/beneficio is much larger than the one we work with in Santa Maria. Rodolfo is incredibly hospitable and very willing to show us around. We learned a lot from both him and his land. Here are a few pictures from our trip...

The first image is of unripe coffee drying (with the cherries still on the bean) on the patio of Rodolfo's brother-in-law. When they sort the ripe coffee cherries from the unripe coffee, they keep the unripe cherries to use for themselves and dry them on patios around their land.

The second image is of a coffee tree nursery. Notice how good these seedlings look.

The third image is of the bags of coffee cherries that the pickers picked. Imagine carrying one of those on your back up a huge hill!







The fourth image is of Rodolfo weighing the bags of cherries that have been picked by his pickers. When Rodolfo took us around his land he had us walk up the mountains like the pickers do. We, however, didn't have 100 lbs of coffee strapped to our backs. The agility, strength, and determination of these pickers are incredible. I'm fairly in shape, and I was huffing, puffing and falling all over the place.

The fourth image is of their beneficio (wet mill). This is a large scale beneficio. The one we are constructing in Santa Maria will not be this large.










The fifth image is of Rodolfo giving Les some green samples of his coffee (these beans are not roasted) to take back for Vienna Coffee to sample roast. Notice in the background that they have a large warehouse full of coffee ready to be shipped to different roasters around the country.

Like I mentioned before, the trip was very informative. We hope to continue the relationship with Rodolfo, and see if we can help each other in the future.

John in Guatemala


John made his way from Atlanta to Guatemala city this past week in preparation to take an "origin" tour of different beneficios (coffee mills) and fincas around Guatemala with the Roaster's Guild.

Before his official tour John spent the weekend with Les, Jamie and the farmers of Santa Maria de Jesus. These are pictures of John depulping 250 pounds of coffee! Now that's a lot of coffee!

In the first picture Julio, Les and John are picking out the green (unripe) cherries before they go through the depulper. These exact beans were picked by some new farmers who have decided to join the co-op. We are excited to have them because they had some of the best picked coffee we've seen. "Solo rojo."

The second picture is of John actually cranking the depulper. The cherries go from the top and get squished along the copper grate which pushes the beans out of the cherry pulp. This is some tiring work. The stuff coming out at the bottom of the depulper is only the pulp that is later composted back into the soil.

The third picture is the beans coming out of the depulper. There are a few of the cherries left with the beans, but those will be sorted out in the washing process.

More updates from the field coming soon...