We were invited by Colin Harmon and the Tamper Tantrum team to speak at Cup North, the first coffee conference in Manchester, England, bringing a lot of the UK coffee industry together.
Our topic: “Why Coffee Farmers Rock”
We wanted to share with the audience the qualities that we admire about coffee farmers we have had the opportunity to work with.
The difference between average and excellence lies in the attention to detail, the passion and the hard work farmers bring to the table. It’s hard to define coffee farmers in terms of a specific demographic as they cover a large spectrum and can be exclusive and limiting. When it comes to farming quality coffee, what defines these women and men, are traits that transcend these demographics. It was a real honour to share the inspirational traits of our farmers character.
We told about Don Manuel Matheau’s (my great great great grandfather) vision and bravery of how he started growing coffee against all odds in Antigua, Guatemala. As an industry we should rise up to this legacy and collaborate together to push the Specialty Coffee industry further. We currently make up 1% of the entire coffee industry. Let’s go for the 2%-together with the same bravery and vision of Don Manuel.
PERSISTANCE & COURAGE
We talked about Don Heleodoro’s journey into coffee farming. He started walking a few days to buy cherry at a farm in Huehuetenango, and waking a few more days back on foot with a bag full of freshly pick cherries to sell them to a mill. He was a humble man with a dedication to good work habits. He soon realised that coffee farming could be a bit of a business, so he saved and saved until he bought his first farm, La Esperanza. His persistence and courage led to a family business of now 7 son’s growing Cup of Excellence coffee.
Following her father’s death at the age of 25, Doña Maruca, embraced responsibility and worked her farms. Over the years she multiplied her production by a multiple of 5 with fearlessness and unwavering work ethic. She was on top of her game as the largest single producer of coffee in El Salvador at the height of coffee in 1970s (pre land reform/Cold War). As the leading Lady around the country in a sea of men, she was kind of the Beyonce of coffee farming-a real legend. She should inspire all women to fearlessly break gender stereo types.
We also saw the excellence that Don Rafael and Doña Maria Elena from the Ventura family brings to their family farm. Their meticulous methods of how they approach farming is a real example to other farmers. The way they study and research different techniques both the old and new lead to defining best practices across the farm. The real proof is in the quality and output of their family farm. The excellence we put forth in brewing a good cup of coffee indeed is a reflection of itself at the farm.
We ended our chat highlighting the determination of Don Gustavo and his approach to leaf rust this past season in El Salvador. Having suffered an 80% reduction in production due to leave rust (the Crisis), he brought a kind of leadership to his people that resonates of the real leaders of the times. We talked about how he welcomed the Crisis as opportunity to improve and bring innovation to his farm. He motivated his staff but driving how the only real crisis arising out of a crisis is an attitude of despair. You can read more about him here.
At the heart of producing quality coffee is a collection of inspiring attitudes and traits that empower farmers to overcome any challenge thrown their way. We really enjoyed being part of the Tamper Tantrum line up, and wanted to thank everyone for coming out to be part of it.