Do you want to know how coffee sales in USA affect coffee farmers in Guatemala? If YES, here are 5 ways buying a cup of coffee affect farmers in Guatemala.
Coffee is grown in 20 of Guatemala’s 22 departments, with around 270,000 hectares planted under coffee, almost all of which (98%) is shade grown. The country’s production is almost exclusively Arabica and is most commonly prepared using the washed method, though natural and various semi-washed methods are gaining in popularity.
Guatemala coffee farmers are aided by high altitudes and as many as 300 unique micro climates in the country. There is constant rainfall in most regions and mineral-rich soils. In Guatemala, coffee pickers must hike into the top of the mountain to gain access to the best beans. Once their bags full, they then walk down the mountain to the processing plants.
Note that after picking and processing, the beans are ready to ship. Since coffee beans are sensitive to moisture, they must be packed in bags that allow air to circulate—sealed bags would promote condensation and deterioration of the bean.
Top 5 Ways Buying a Cup of Coffee Affect Farmers in Guatemala
Buying a Cup of Coffee in the united states affect farmers in Guatemala since a good number of coffee imported into the United States are from Guatemala.
These coffee farmers earn a living from this product and since coffee has helped fuel Guatemala’s economy for over a hundred years, any slight change in demand and taste buds in the United States directly and indirectly affect the income of these farmers. Below are the few ways our coffee consumption in the United States affect farmers in the country:
- Gives Guatemala Farmers Hope and Purpose
In Guatemala today, an estimated 125,000 coffee producers drive Guatemala’s coffee industry and coffee remains one of Guatemala’s principal export products, accounting for 40% of all agricultural export revenue. An increase in demand for Guatemala coffee provides an avenue for these farmers to fulfil a purpose –or at least the feeling of it. Just going through each day doesn’t cut it for the long run, especially in a poverty ridden society.
- Makes them Feel Productive
In our lives as humans, there is nothing more satisfying like finishing a day’s work knowing that your sweats are not in vain and your works are being appreciated. Feeling productive is energizing and good for the soul. By buying a cup of coffee in Starbuck, we give rise to more demand for coffee and also give these farmers the satisfaction that their produce is well appreciated.
- Help Guatemala Farmers Maintain a Standard of Living
Of course we need to work to earn a living and make money to pay the bills and buy groceries etc. It’s an obvious reason to work, but our buying a cup of coffee makes this possible and valid for over 120,000 farmers in Guatemala. In Guatemala, 54% of the population lives in poverty and over 13% in extreme poverty.
Half of the children under five are malnourished, the worst level of malnutrition in the western hemisphere. A cup of coffee we buy everyday in the United States can help parents of these children afford good and balanced meals for these kids.
- Preserve Open Space and Support a Diverse Environment
As the value of direct-marketed farm produce increases all over the world, selling farmland for development becomes less possible. The patchwork of fields, hedgerows, ponds and buildings can serve as habitat for many species of wildlife and also sustain peasant farmers.
That landscape will survive only as long as farms are financially viable. When buying a cup of coffee anywhere in the United States, you are doing something proactive about preserving the agricultural landscape in Guatemala.
- Create Better Opportunities in Guatemala
Economic development is an integral part of every countries vision and work because we want to create long-term, sustainable solution to poverty. It’s also what people want. In fact, reports have shown that the number one interest of people living in poverty is economic development.
They don’t just want to get by; they crave the opportunity of a better life and greater opportunities for themselves and their children. It is not always enough to have enough food to get ahead, Guatemala coffee farmers need money by selling excess coffee in order to pay for their different needs. By buying a cup of coffee, we indirectly or even directly help to see to this needs of the over 120,000 Guatemala coffee farmers.
Top Coffee Farms in Guatemala
While Guatemala may no longer rank among the world’s major coffee producers in terms of volume, Guatemala retains a reputation for producing high-quality beans with complex flavour profiles. Nonetheless, below are well known coffee farms and their owners in Guatemala serving the United States market.
- Finca El Tambor
This farm is currently owned and maintained by Victor Calderon, who is a fifth-generation farmer from a family with more than 100 years of experience growing coffee.
This seasoned coffee-grower transformed his family’s business from focusing on Robusta to Arabica beans in 2001. Note that this large farm processes all of its coffee with a single, diesel depulper after first picking the coffee cherries in small batches. Staff then fully washes and sun-dries each bean.
- Finca San Rafael
This farm is owned by a third-generation coffee farmer from the Valdés family, which founded this farm at the end of the 19th century. From research, it remains one of the oldest and most reputable coffee farms in the Antigua region.
Situated in a valley between two of the region’s three volcanoes, the farm’s rich, fertile soil produces strictly hard beans — a high classification of high altitude-grown beans from this area. During harvest, farm workers pick the ripe cherries, sort them to remove any debris, and then transport them to a wet mill for de-pulping followed by 12 to 16 hours of fermentation.
Finally, wet mill staff sun-dry the beans and consistently rake them to ensure an even dryness. According to reports, this established coffee farm maintains a sharp focus on quality control by frequently sampling, or “cupping,” its beans to ensure a consistent, high-quality product.
- San Pedro Necta Organic
Situated in the Huehuetenango region, this farm is part of a community of growers dedicated to differentiating their coffees by using sustainable and organic practices. However, to make sure it could produce high-quality coffees without using harmful chemicals despite the impacts of climate change, this farm developed new ways to protect its shade and soil biodiversity.
According to reports, over 135 producers within the Association of Integrated Development of San Pedro Necta (ASODESI) own this farm and collectively work to maintain quality and fair practices for the farmers in this area.
Coffee beans take a long and daunting journey from the hot, often sweltering environments in which they are grown to your cup. They go through the hands of pickers, into jute bags and storage bins, across oceans and continents, into and out of cargo holds, and onto trucks before they reach your home.
So when you order a cup of coffee at Starbucks or brew your first cup of the day, feeling your senses begin to awaken at that wonderful, familiar scent, it’s great to have an appreciation for the farmers in Guatemala and the journey your coffee beans took to make it into your cup.