A few friends and I recently took a road-trip to a coffee cupping where, to my surprise, we were met with someone who made us feel inferior in comparison to her coffee knowledge. This experience of mine got me thinking! What is coffee culture? When someone encounters coffee culture, what do they encounter? And how does it leave them feeling?
I'd like to suggest that coffee culture is somewhat hidden within the people who plant, maintain, and pick coffee. Coffee farmers! If you ever get a chance to travel to places like Guatemala, which produces unforeseeable amounts of coffee year after year, it's so worth it! And it's there where you get to encounter what I would consider to be true coffee culture. When you ask farmers about how long they've been farming, they'll tell you stories of their great-grandfathers and of their family while maintaining a never-ending smile. The joy and passion within them is honestly contagious.
Take for example, Don Pedro, one of our farmers that we'll be buying from directly come 2017, who shared with us how he sees coffee as a gift from God. He feels as if he honors God when he implements excellent coffee farming standards. His plants are amazingly healthy, the soil is moist, soft, and visibly fertile. Each plant contains a good 3-5 inches of organic compost and he only hires-out his family to pick his beans because he knows that his family will treat his plants more honorably than hired hands. While we were talking with him, his three kids (shown above) were off giggling in the fields and his wife greeted us with a big smile. They were playing music in the background and seemingly enjoying their labor.
It's one of our goals as Yepocapa Coffee to be able to share with you this culture; the atmosphere and joyfulness of these coffee farmers. Our hope is that when you encounter these farmers and drink their coffee, it'll allow coffee consumers to encounter more passion and have more joy over their morning cup of coffee knowing a little bit more about the people who picked their beans and their culture.
So don't be intimidated by people who make you feel inferior. Although growth in both knowledge and experience is encouraged, there's always a starting place in coffee. And if you ask any good Barista, they'll tell you that most of them learned what they learned through trial and error, experience, and even YouTube! A good friend of mine just started roasting on his stove-top and although he had no idea what he was doing at first, he learned more about coffee in the trial and error of it and I'm confident that his next roast will be much better.