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Coffee Break Questions - Sr. Jorge Villatoro

Finca Miralvalle is named for its beautiful, mountainous views over La Democracia and Mexico. It is a winding two hour drive from the provincial capital of Huehuetenango and is located in a “cold rainforest” with its own protected nature reserve. Its high elevation in the mountains of San Pedro Necta means it is one of the last farms in the region to finish the harvest. It is owned and run by Sr. Jorge Heberto Villatoro Gómez and his family.

Marta and Jorge

Marta first tried coffee from Finca Miralvalle three years ago, and it was one of the most memorable coffees she tasted that whole year. Here at Coffee Bird we are really excited to start working directly with Jorge this year.  Like many of the farmers we work with, Jorge was born into coffee.  His personal history of growing up on a farm, to now owning two farms himself, and being in a position to help his neighbours, is a story of passion, determination and persistence. He harbours a strong desire to not only do the best for his family but to give back his community.

During her visit to Finca Miralvalle last month, Marta took a coffee break with Sr. Jorge Villatoro and his wife Sra. Evelyn Villatoro. The interview below has been translated from Spanish to English.

View from Miralvalle

Finca Miralvalle, Huehuetenango, Guatemala. February 2016

Marta Dalton: First question! Who would you most like to have coffee with in the world and at any point in time?  

Jorge Villatoro: With my wife! [Evelyn. She laughs and says likewise!]

MD: In Huehue what is the most you would pay for a cup of coffee? I don’t know if you would buy coffee outside or only drink at home…

JV: As we are producers we are very fond of our own coffee! But the most expensive I've seen in cafés is 18 quetzals [£1.64 in British pounds or $2.34 in US dollars at time of writing]

We are talking about Huehuetenango….

MD: And how is the quality?

JV: The quality doesn’t really correspond to the price. We have very little culture of coffee consumption in our generation.

In my humble opinion, a mistake that all farmers are responsible for is that they have not created coffee drinkers who understand the quality they should be able to obtain for a certain price in a café. For me, the equation is that the restaurateur doesn’t demand more of what he buys because the consumer isn’t asking for quality, and so he [the restaurateur] is not interested in increasing the quality of his coffee. You need to see what I have personally seen, which is that when a restaurateur begins to make known the qualities of his coffees, he also notices a change in his customers, that they begin to care more for a better quality of coffee.

MD: That's interesting, and it actually brings me to the next question: Do you think there any connection between coffee farmer and coffee drinker?

JV: There should be. Currently very few farms are able to communicate just what it costs to produce a coffee and, as a result, to make their consumers understand what this cost demonstrates [i.e. that the cost of coffee is high].