Honduras and Nicaragua trip report February 09 2016
In January of this year, I was given the opportunity to travel through the coffee-growing regions of Honduras and Nicaragua, where some of our producer’s farms are located. I’ve been in the coffee business for a few years and this was my first chance to see the process in such an intimate fashion. Prior to this trip, my perspective on the fair trade movement and the coffee industry, in general, had been missing that crucial element. I challenged myself to come away from the experience with a firmer grasp on our farmer contributions so I can convey that to you, our customers.
As a coffee roaster, Desert Sun Coffee is only a singular link in the diverse chain of people that connects everyone involved in a coffee bean’s journey, from seed to cup. This chain begins with the farmers, pickers, producers, exporters, importers, roasters and ends as you take a sip from your morning cup of coffee. Every step of this journey is composed of countless people, working hard every day to bring out the best in each and every bean. Our responsibility as a roaster is to act as stewards to all of that hard work that preceded us. To do otherwise would be a disservice to all of the many people vested in this industry. Something as simple as accidentally spilling a handful of beans on our production floor has taken on a new level of meaning for me; thousands of miles travelled, only to be butter-fingered at the penultimate moment.
I've gained some valuable insights as to how fair trade is affecting the people working on the ground-level. For every person you ask, you might receive one or, even more, opinions on the topic. From my own perspective, fair-trade simply means forging meaningful relationships. It means knowing the individuals who grow your coffee on a personal level and understanding what hurdles they have and still need to overcome. That sentiment was the foundation for the entire trip and I think that our co-op, Coop Coffees, continues to do an outstanding job of promoting these interpersonal connections that span the globe. Whether it be helping our farmers get through the La Roya crisis, currently sweeping through Central America, or ensuring that they are being paid an honest price for each batch of coffee they produce, we strive to have as much of a positive impact on their lives as they have had on ours. Without the dedication and hard work of the coffee-growing community, this entire venture would be utterly impossible.
I'll be sharing more from my trip in the coming months. Please feel free to call us or to send an email if you have any further questions regarding how we acquire our coffee. We love discussing all aspects of the business and want you to understand your part in the chain that connects us all!