Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Picking and Grinding

Day three of our experience in Guatemala led to a coffee field owned by a local farmer who is apart of AGAIG CoOp. His name was Alberto and his farm was a lovely 5K [3.1 mi], uphill, strenuous hike from the center of San Miguel Escobar. The fields were located at the base of Volcán de Agua. Alberto owns two coffee lots at the base of this volcano. One coffee lot is 900 meters, every coffee tree is 2 meters apart, and shade trees are planted every two or three coffee trees. Alberto explained to us that he has two or three different types of coffee producing plants. The shorter bush like plants produce more coffee cherries at a lower quality than the taller trees which produce less product at a higher quality. On average a local Guatemalan will pick 150 to 200 pounds of coffee cherries a day! As a group the 20 people in our group picked 62 pounds of coffee cherries in just under an hour of work. After our coffee cherry picking extravaganza, we proceeded to learn the rest of the process in brief. Alberto introduced us to a coffee cherry pulping machine that was powered by a rusty bicycle. This machine separated the fruit from the coffee beans. After this step the beans need to be dried for eight days, and then sifted to separate the large beans from the small beans, producing high quality and low quality coffee. Those beans then need to be husked and then roasted. The roasting process varies between different types of coffees ie. light, dark, and espresso. As a group we were then able to taste the most fresh freaking coffee we will ever taste in our lives. It was amazing. Other parts of our day including lunch and dinner at Alberto's house and a coffee "cupping" at the AGAIG house. At the end of the day the food and coffee were fantastic. Our group experienced a new appreciation for the hard work and tedious processes that are required to produce the ever so loved substance that is coffee. This appreciation is something we all hope to instill in people back in the United States. We miss everyone and hope to figure out how to post our pictures later. Talk to you all soon! Kya and Kevin


  1. I know your all having a great time learning and enjoying the journey. I am so proud of you all (especially my daughter Kya) for making the trip and understanding the amount of work that goes on around the world so that we here in the US can have those little things we sometimes take for granted!

  2. Thanks for the updates - hope you are all enjoying this great experience. I'd love to share a cup of that fresh coffee with you. Have fun and be safe!
    Hugs to you all! Hannah's Mom

  3. Thanks so much for the updates! I love the pics you all posted yesterday. Such a great experience for all of you.
    Have fun and be safe!
    Cam's Mom

  4. Sounds like you all are having a great time and a wonderful experience. I am so proud of you Jessica Lambert. Love you and miss you.