We drove way into the mountains of Guatemala this weekend, almost to El Salvador. This woman, Victoria, captured our hearts with her sweet spirit and her coffee (coffee cherry and the green bean pictured above).
Coffee “fields” were certainly not what I imagined them to be. Hers were unkempt, she is just getting into the business since inheriting the land from her son who passed away. We just hopped a few barbed wire fences and stopped amidst some banana trees (a compatible plant often planted with coffee to provide shade) and some unassuming little plants I soon learned held the key to my morning cup of happiness: coffee.
Coffee grows as little cherries on plants. The cherries are harvested, the green beans inside extracted, and then roasted into the coffee we love.
From one of her plots, Victoria harvests about 600 pounds of coffee cherries, which when it is all said and done, translates into about 100 pounds of consumable coffee. Seeing what small scale coffee farming in a developing country looks like, I can guarantee I’ll be thinking about Victoria and the many farmers like her every time I take a sip, and especially when purchasing coffee back home.
We were able to take some time to pray over Victoria and her land, and I’m hopeful to see how her fields improve as friends of ours work with her and commit to giving her a fair price for her green coffee, then roast and sell it themselves.
They are hoping to start marketing their coffee – GuateJava – as a quality coffee here in Guatemala, where most of the good coffee is exported for profit and the coffee sold here tends to be the “basura,” or trash, coffee. I am also hopeful to see some of Guatemala’s best coffee enjoyed by the people who deserve it the most – Guatemalans!