Twice a year Fika travels to countries where our coffee is grown. This weekend, Colin (our manger) and I (Josh) are going to Guatemala. Actually, maybe by the time you are reading this we will already be there. And last September, I took a trip to Peru with Cafe Imports, one of the coffee importers that we work closely with to get our beans. I’ll be sharing that story today.
Before we dive in, I’d like to tell you a bit about the nature of these trips. We travel to coffee origins for a few reasons. One reason is to taste and purchase coffee. Traveling directly to the country where our beans are sourced gives us more varieties to choose from. We also have a higher chance of getting the beans we want because we buy them before they go to the rest of the market.
We also travel to build and grow relationships. Sometimes we actually get to meet the very farmers who grow our beans. Sharing a meal with them and talking (sometimes not a whole lot of talking, my Spanish is poor, but a translator is often there too) about coffee production is a unique and fulfilling experience. Additionally, we get to learn first hand about all the work that goes into growing and preparing the coffee beans before we see them.
On this past September trip to Lima I brought a good friend and big supporter of Fika Coffee, Andy Lehner. Andy is someone who had been supporting Fika since day one. He is someone I can share my crazy ideas with and get solid feedback from. So, the trip to Peru was two fold: one to taste and purchase coffee and second to share an experience with Andy that would give him a fuller understanding of the coffee story.
Well, the traveling part of this trip did not go well. In short, we missed our connection flight so we flew to Peru by way of Chili, when we got there we missed our group and another flight by minutes, and I experienced a violent illness on the way home.
When Andy and I finally arrived to our destination in Peru we were a day late. Since we were a day late it also meant we also missed an important day of cupping (tasting) several Peruvian coffees. But, we weren’t the only ones who were late. Another person from our group was also delayed, so Cafe Imports set up a special cupping for us. Instead of twenty some people crowded into a small space working the way around the table cupping coffees, there were only three of us - a pleasant surprise!
Before arriving in Peru I planned on picking out two coffees on our trip: an organic coffee that we could use in our Organic Dark Roast and a smaller lot of coffee from a single farm. As we made our way through the two tables cupping about twenty coffees, I found the beans for our dark roast and was able to pick out a coffee that stood out for our single farmer coffee. It was grown by a man named Mariano Guevara.
I did not know this at the time, but Mariano was in the room observing us while we were cupping coffee that day. Though I wish I would have been able to sit down and have a conversation with Mariano, there is something really special about knowing we were in the same room as the man who grew the beans that we roast, brew and sell right out of our shop in Lutsen. It’s connections like these, and the ones with all of you, that keep the heart of Fika beating.
From the bottom of our hearts, and on behalf of Mariano Guevara in Lima, Peru: thank you for your unending support!
If you’d like to try some of the coffee we purchase from Mariano, stop into the shop in Lutsen or have a bag delivered to your door by visiting our website.
Follow along with Colin and I on our next coffee origin trip to Guatemala. We leave THIS weekend and will be sharing our farm stay at Finca de Esperanza through Instagram and Facebook. Learn more about Finca de Esperanza and an exciting project we are helping them with in our last post: Tips for a Cause - Finca La Esperanza.