Guate travels: Pictures

Interested in what we have been doing while in Guatemala? Here is a brief picture summary of what we've been up to...

The first picture is outside of John's window the first two nights he was in Antigua.

We then went to Dometrio's land. We are taking a little break eating Jocotes. One of Dometrio's shade crops over his coffee trees.

These are the "chicken" buses that take people to and from the different villages and cities in Guatemala.

John, Les, and Jamie took a nice relaxing lunch at Epicure. It had a beautiful plaza in the middle of it, and the food was spectacular! We even received complimentary chocolate/ginger truffles.... yumm.

Then the day before John left for his "origin" tour with the Roaster's Guild, we all went to a great vineyard in Santa Maria which is supposedly the only winery in Central America. It is new, but has tasty wine and is in a BEAUTIFUL location!

The last photos is of the casa where we were able to taste the wine, and there's a little restaurant inside too. Also, Les was able to talk with the owner of the vineyard (Château Defay), and they might be willing to sell La Armoñia Hermosa coffee by the bag and by the cup at the winery.

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...

Photos of Alberto's land

As mentioned before, here are some pictures from Alberto's field. The first image is of the coffee cherries from one of Alberto's trees. They are almost ready for their first picking!

The second picture is of Alberto on the left, Julio (the main contact and organizer of the cooperative) in the middle and his son Melvin on the right.

The third image is of a coffee cherry with the two coffee beans that are found inside of each cherry. The beans are covered in a sweet tasting mucilage (the tan color). This mucilage is what ferments after the cherries have been depulped (depulping is what I did manually to show the beans inside. It is basically just taking off the outside ruby red flesh). From there the bean (with the mucilage on it still), is set out on drying racks and the mucilage turns into paper-thin parchment (this phase is called pergamino). I will show more of the phases later.

And the fourth image is of the coffee bean flowers. Before there are cherries, these white flowers form on the branches. Once these are pollinated then they will turn into the beautiful coffee cherries. The cherries start out as green to yellow to orange to light red to ruby red. If you don't pick it early enough they kind of turn a reddish brown color. All of these pictures were taken at the same time. Therefore, as you can tell there has to be multiple pickings of ripe cherries because some of the cherries are ready to be picked while others are still in their flower form.

More to come later...

Guate travels: Alberto

Jamie and Les left the freezing USA last Monday to go to the deliciously warm Antigua, Guatemala to work with and visit the coffee farmers of Santa Maria de Jesus. To their great happiness, their first week in beautiful Guate was great consisting of farm visits, shared meals, and many meetings.

Here is a snippet of one of their trips to Santa Maria de Jesus...
"After catching a ride on the back of a local's truck and taking the long hike down from the village onto the farmland, we came to Alberto's land where the harvest is looking great. (photos will come shortly). He has shade trees full of avocados, lemons, Kumquats, bananas, pacaya and many other delicious treats. His coffee trees are full and plump with beautiful coffee cherries ready for the picking. Alberto, a masterful farmer, has a great selection of different varieties of coffee which helps if a coffee blight takes over one of the varietals. You can tell Alberto has such great passion for his crops not only by his enthusiasm when showing off his land and the twinkle in his eye, but also the health of all of his trees and plants. BEA-U-TI-FUL!"

The picture is of Volcan Agua (the Volcano Santa Maria de Jesus is located on)

Please check back in the near future for more about Les and Jamie's trip and pictures.