Many of my friend this year have been able to visit coffee origins... Billy, Kevin, and Phoung all just got back from Guatemala. Scott Lucey is about to bust out to El Salvador, Nick Cho just spent some time with Ms. Batlle in El Salvador, and apparently, Jay Caragay is on his way to Ethiopia... I talked to Phoung the other day and spent some time checking out Billy's Flickr photos... and it's all got me wondering more and more about what it's like on the farms we buy coffee from.
Now, when I say what it's like... I don't mean, how hard is the work, or anything like that. I mean, how much do the farmers care about a) the human being working for them and b) the coffee they are producing. From start to finish... is the coffee being taken care of? Paradise is a small company and we don't have a huge travel budget, but I am becoming more and more uncomfortable with the idea of buying coffees, even great tasting ones, where we have no idea what's going on beyond what gets to us.
All the time we talk about specialty and relational coffee in the cafe... Getting to know your customers and all that jazz. I feel it needs to be just as relational with the farmers. If I had a mug in my hand right now I would raise it to the simple idea of continuing to raise standards and to making the world a better place!