Today I just wanted to talk to you a little bit about the importance of going down to origin to see what is going on with coffee. Oftentimes going online and looking through an importer’s portfolio of coffees, you don’t get to really see all that is happening at origin. You get to read about the elevation. You get to read the cupping notes. But you don’t get to see what’s happening in the community around the grower or the way a grower is going to process his coffee. This is why, as a coffee roaster, traveling to origin can be an invaluable experience.
Earlier this year, for example, I got to visit Gold Mountain Coffee Growers in Nicaragua with one of our baristas. Gold Mountain has been around now for about ten years, starting with the personal farm of its founder, Ben Weiner. And, over time, it has expanded to include roughly one hundred producers with maybe twenty separated out for microlot status.
There Ben showed us around his farms and those of some of his producers, including one in particular, Don Isidro, whose coffee we have been offering now for nearly a year. We saw how Gold Mountain differentiates themselves from a lot of other growers down there in how they want to reward their workers and be socially and economically impactful, while also ensuring overall cup quality. We learned about how Gold Mountain assists in getting their producers better wages, as well as improving sustainability and overall quality of life with things like solar panels and running water. We witnessed how they achieve stellar coffee processing, starting with their ripeness teams wearing bracelets the color of ripe cherries to ensure they’re picking the best ones at all times of harvest. We met the extra hands at the dry mill there to manage inventory and turn the cherries at exactly the right times.
Visiting Gold Mountain was an eye-opening experience. It allowed us to not simply know the coffee we are getting from them tastes good, but understand why it tastes good, while observing the positive processes they have in place and gaining a greater appreciation for the culture and traditions of the people responsible for it.
To learn more about Gold Mountain, please watch the video below or you can visit Gold Mountain Coffee’s website.