Guatemala La Esperanza:
The farm of Guatemala La Esperanza is unlike any place I had been before. After a two hour ride in the back of a truck with eight of my trip-mates we finally arrived at the center of the village Hoja Blanca, Huehuetenango, Guatemala, in which Guatemala La Esperanza coffee farm is centered around.
We were greeted by the village and fed an extravagant dinner on the patio of Aurelio Villatoro’s house. As we sank into our new surroundings we prepared coffee to show off our brewing skills to our friends. We went to sleep with the outline of the mountains in our minds, ready to glimpse the farm for the first time in daylight the following morning.
When we woke up we were all in amazement of what we saw. We had landed smack in the middle of steep slopes covered in growing coffee trees, a multi-tank washing mill, with every roof of a tiny village covered in drying coffee. This place was heaven for our eyes after travelling almost constantly for three days since we left Seattle.
We ate a leisurely breakfast discussing the beauty of the space we were in, then grabbed our hats to protect us from the sun and headed into the fields.
We had the opportunity to see every step of the process the first day on this farm. We washed the coffee, we chatted with the people picking coffee, and even picked a few cherries ourselves (but we couldn’t resist snacking on them). We spread out sacks of washed coffee to dry; we raked drying coffee to give the little beans an even drying opportunity. However, the most magical part of the day was when the freshly picked coffee arrived in the evening.
When the coffee arrives from the fields to the washing station it feels like a ceremony. First, they weigh the coffee, taking careful inventory of the crop. They then wash the cherries.
After washing, they use a screen to separate defective beans. Shaking the cherries much like a gold hunter would pan for gold. Finally the coffee gets sent into the fermentation tanks to remove the skin, pulp, and mucilage.
We made a lot of close friends during our visit with this farm and two days later when it was time to leave a part of all of our hearts stayed in Finca La Esperanza.
We return to this farm as a company every year, and it is one of the most hospitable, lively, and loving places that we have the honor to visit.
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