Day 2: The Full Description

First off, i want to apologize for my writing. So try not to critique me too much on my spelling and grammar. 🙂

So starting from our walk up the hill. After breakfast, we started the 5 kilometer (3 mile) hike up the mountain to the Coffee fields. The terrain was rough and by the time we reached the fields (about an hour hike) everyone was pretty warn out. We each were given a basket and then began to start picking the coffee fruit. For those of you who don’t know the coffee making process it starts with picking the fruit off the tree. The fruit looks a lot like a cranberry or grape, and is ripe when it is completely red. We picked the coffee fruit for about 2 hours and by the end had collected more than 150 pounds. The Fruit is then carried back down the mountain on the back of a donkey. The trip down was much faster and easier on all of us. When we arrived back into town, we went to Filiberto’s (Salazar) for lunch.
After lunch we started the second process of the coffee making. We had to pulp the coffee fruit, which is basically taking the coffee seed out of its fruit casing. Filiberto told us of the old times when this process was done by hand, and it would take an entire day to do 100 pounds. Now days, they have a very interesting machine that is essentially a bicycle powered case stripper. How it works is one person rides the bicycle, which then turns the gears and power’s the casing stripper. It is a very interesting sight to see, but reduces the time to pulp the fruit from a day to about 15 minutes. Once the seed is removed from the casing, it is white and very soft and sticky, after this the seed must ferment for 20 hours before it becomes solid. It is then laid out in the sun for an entire day and then put through a special machine that husks another layer off the seed off, until there is nothing left but the actually coffee bean. After this process, the seeds (which are still white) are put in the roaster, to where they get their brown color that we all know and love. For the fun of it, we were showed (and then allowed to actually interact and roast and grind the seeds on our own) how to roast the seeds over an open fire on a clay plate like the old days, we then used a stone to crush the seeds into a fine texture. The final step in the seed-to-cup process was the one we had all been waiting for. We put the crushed coffee seeds into boiling water and made the coffee! We then all drank the coffee that we had put a hard day’s work into. It was very rewarding.
We returned back to our home at around 4:30, and all showered and got ready for dinner. It’s amazing how we all felt so differently a day after arriving. Our home that we thought was nothing more than a run down the night before, now seemed more like a pent house to all of us. We are lucky to have beds, and doors, and concrete floors, while most families live with no doors and have dirt floors. It really helped us appreciate what we have.
For dinner we went to one of the farmers houses, a man by the name of Timoteo. His family had prepared for us a meal of refried beans (with tortilla’s of course) and some kind of carne esada. We soon realized that every meal consists of tortillas. Anyway, the meal was delicious, and after dinner we conversed with him about his family and his life and how it came to me. He told us the stories of how he got his nickname “el tigre”, and how he started with 100 coffee plants and 15 years later he has over 5,000! We said our goodbyes and headed home for the night, where we had reflection of our first days in Guatemala.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cindy
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 00:15:13

    Bryant, you are doing a fantastic job on the writing. Feels like we are hiking up that hill with you and picking the fruit and peddling the bike, just wish we actually were drinking the coffee with you. It sounds like your host families are taking good care of you and your group. How is the language, are you all working on your Spanish or are your hosts pretty fluent in English? Can’t wait to hear more about the adventures of your group.
    Love you
    Mom Nankee

    Reply

  2. Ken Larie
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 02:06:32

    We really appreciate the update and are impressed by your hard work and perspective. This experience is sure to enrich each in a special way. We look forward to hearing about the rest of your journey.

    Ken and Annette Larie

    Reply

  3. Dana Wielgus
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 02:11:00

    Very Interesting! Can’t wait to hear more!

    Reply

  4. Wendy Rebne
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 14:29:35

    As I am drinking my morning coffee, I am having a whole new appreciation for all that goes into my cup! Anxious to hear more reports. Thanks

    Reply

    • Leah Rebne
      Mar 23, 2011 @ 14:20:43

      The coffee is amazing. You can buy it off of the as green as it gets website right from the farmers we are working with! I will tell you more when I get home! Love you and say hi to dad for me

      Reply

      • Wendy Rebne
        Mar 23, 2011 @ 21:57:35

        I am going to order some! I will probably become a regular customer! I hope you continue to enjoy your experiences this week! Love, mom and dad

  5. Kate Unger
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 20:42:18

    Great job, Bryant! You are doing a great job and it sounds like you’ve experienced so much in such a short amount of time. I’m excited to hear what the rest of the trip will bring you.
    Kate U.

    Reply

  6. Dee Kehrberg
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 21:38:39

    What a great experience! Makes us all understand more what ‘fair trade’ coffee really means. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  7. Tracey Kraus
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 21:38:30

    Hi Nicole,
    It sounds like you are having fun and what a great experience. Would love to be there drinking coffee and learning the culture. Hopefully you are speaking Spanish or should I say trying to…..I know you are doing well and I am very happy they are taking good care of my daughter while you are there. Maybe when you get back you will see life different. Like take time to smell the roses and not worry so much…..You will have to tell me what “Fair Trade” means….lol Love you, Mom(Tracey Kraus)

    Reply

  8. Tracey Kraus
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 21:40:27

    Hi Nicole,
    I just wanted you to know your brother Seth just told me about this blog. Sorry you haven’t heard from us…but I just e-mailed you….love you

    Reply

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