2016 started with a trip in January to Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Mexico by way of collaboration with coffee growers. This trip was made from several pretty interesting experiences since we traveled by bus from Nicaragua to Mexico.
The trip began in Nicaragua where we met a coffee grower and producer, Jorge Lagos. Nicaragua is famous for it’s volcanoes so we visited Masaya volcano that is one of the countries most active. Our stay in Ocotal was my favorite part. Many of the farms employ seasonal workers from nearby Esteli during the picking season. The coffee at Finca Santa Teresa is hand picked and pulped each day. Lot selection is done by the farm manager and coordinated by the owner. We visited Finca Santa Teresa and Guadalupe.
After this we left for San Salvador, El Salvador. Here we met with the growers and producers of Santa Ana, El Salvador. We visited Finca San Carlos and Finca Miravalle. Finca San Carlos has been a relationship coffee for us since visiting in 2012 and beginning to work at a micro mill from some of the producers at Cuzcachapa has given us huge insight and choice coffees from the Santa Ana region. The coffee here is harvested from October to March and then it takes a little while longer to get exported. The families work and live on the farms full time during their time off. While not during harvest the students of the families are in school and after the harvest the students are in school.
After leaving San Salvador, we waited for a 5 o’clock bus to San Cristobal, Mexico. This took a while. Approximately 27 hours and the bright side was the weather was good the whole time. We arrived in Mexico to explore this area of Chiapas and had a chance to take a horseback riding afternoon to Chamula. The most enjoyable part of this trip was culture. San Cristobal and Chamula are both small but densily populated cities. The people of the cities have a natural knack for craft. The detail and care given to coffee in the highlands of Chiapas is thread of the culture that plays out through all facets of work in the region. Clothing made locally is for sale in town market as well as many other products. There is an atmosphere that makes the city enjoyable both in climate and in sight.