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Coffee With the Farmers

In honor of National Coffee Day, here's the shortened version of my visit to a Fair Trade coffee farm in Guatemala last year. 

Ripe coffee cherries.

9/12/17: It turns out that we're on a practice trip for a coffee tour that Basilio and a local guide are planning, trying out the route and taking promotional photos for potential tourists.

You won't guess who was nominated to pose as the tourist and is now the poster child for the tour company. Ha!



Katy following the guide through the mountains. Katy listening intently as he explains something. Katy looking at coffee plants with Basilio. Katy getting a weaving lesson from Basilio's mom (!).

The views were incredible, so I was happy to stop frequently for photos.




It was fun. I'm a good practice tourist because I am a real one and take lots of photos and ask lots of questions.

We had a really nice tour of the coffee farm. It's been in the family for four generations. It turns out the coffee mostly cares for itself for much of the year because the climate is so perfect. It only needs fertilized a few times throughout. But at harvest time (coming in November/December), all hands are on deck, including itinerant workers. Some workers travel to wherever the harvest is all year long -- coffee, corn, sugar, potatoes.


The landowners, like Basilio and his dad, may be here part-time and work other jobs during the year, returning to harvest or supervise the harvest.


There is supposed to be a national minimum salary, but it's not always paid or enforced. Here it is. Farmers are members of a local Cooperative, and all are part of the decision to follow certification standards (Fair Trade, Organic, etc.).

The tour also involved some of the processing equipment, for removing the fruit from the bean and drying the beans on a flat surface in the sun.


We had lunch in one of the block houses, cooked over an open wood oven by Basilio's mom. They have this small house here but spend most of their time in an apartment back in Todos Santos. It was a good caldo (soup) with chicken and potatoes, plus coffee and tamalitos (small tamales with just corn inside).

A bucket list dream come true. Drinking coffee with the farmers. ♡

The full version of this article was first published on my personal travel blog on 9/16/17.

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