What's the point in traveling for coffee? Well, there are many reasons! Before I get into the details, let me just say that it has been 2 long years since we have been able to visit our friends and partners in coffee due to the pandemic. That was the largest gap in farm visits since we opened in 2015.
In 2018 we visited Nicaragua for the first time, that was our first origin trip. Meeting the first coffee producer was an instant revelation. In certain parts of the world it's easy to forget that it takes thousands of people to produce even one thing we enjoy. This is very prevalent in coffee. We wake up, rub our eyes, and instantly start reaching for that first cup. Most of us are completely disconnected from the people that harvest our coffee, process it, ship it, and in many cases- even those that roast it. Our first trip enhanced our appreciation for the people that help to produce coffee, as well as, the plant itself.
Ok, back to why. Of course our appreciation doesn't dwindle- BUT it is easy to have life get in the way. Yearly coffee trips serve as reminders to us that we need to continue to take our part of the chain seriously. Seeing how much this industry supports dozens of families in an area, and how much it means to them really helps to highlight our responsibilities.
One of the most important aspects of visiting an origin is education. Learning about new processing methods, cultural coffee traditions, fermentation, compost, climate effects, sustainability, & new coffee varietals are only a few subjects for us to enhance our knowledge . This most recent trip to Costa Rica showed us how important fertilizer is in coffee production, and how there is almost never enough.
One thing that gets overlooked is- how can you call yourself direct trade if you don't trade DIRECTLY with any coffee farmers? The relationships we develop in coffee are far more meaningful than money. If it wasn't, we wouldn't go. Speaking to farmers, seeing their kids running around, noticing the sparkle in their eyes when they tell you about their grandfathers; that's what this is all about. I saw that same sparkle in my grandparents eyes, in my dads, and hopefully my future children will see them in mine.