Finca Santa Rosa in Teocelo, Veracruz, Mexico, where collectors move from grove to grove to gather fresh coffee cherries from varieties of trees such as Mundo Novo, Bourbon, and Caturra. A spate of the fungus called Roya has damaged thousands of trees and threatened the livelihoods of many who work in the coffee industry. Many farmers in Mexico are experimenting with planting different varietals of coffee to find those most resistant to the leaf rust disease.
Just back from a week traveling through the mountains of Veracruz, exploring coffee fincas with a group of artisanal coffee roasters and the exporter they work with. I was again astounded by the richness and beauty of this country's landscape, and the tenacity, warmth, and humor of the Mexican people. Each coffee farm we visited, the owners and workers welcomed us as honored guests and led us on explorations through their crops, one of which grew wild through the slopes of a cloud forest outside Zongolica. Observing the process required to produce a single cup of coffee gave me a deep respect for the people involved in each step. From the person cultivating individual trees to the teams of collectors gathering dozens of kilograms of coffee cherries each day, to the men delivering the bags of cherries to the mills, the mill workers cleaning, sorting, fermenting, and packaging the beans, to the transporter and exporter, the roasters wherever they may be, down to your local barista. It's awe-inspiring to consider the complex process required to create a delicious cup of coffee.
We're considering running a workshop through coffee country, and after our week in Veracruz, we'll post more images from the trip and share thoughts about planning a workshop.