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Guatemala Trip #4 – Our Reflections

Guatemala Trip #4 – Our Reflections

Each coffee bean is precious.

If I were to sum up what I’ve learned from our trip to Guatemala, it would be that. The amount of thought, care, and very hard work that goes into every cup of coffee that we drink is astounding.

Before our trip, I had only ever seen one side of the process. We’ve spent a lot of time and effort at Eli’s to make sure that the coffee we prepare is fresh, weighed and ground to precision, brewed strong and hot, and served by a smiling Barista. What I missed though was what Banu and Mike, owners of Zion Coffee in Peoria, refer to as “the other side of the cup.” Meaning, that there’s a whole other world that goes on to get that coffee bean to our shop.

That’s what our trip was all about. Seeing that other side of the cup. We experienced just how many hands touch each bean that we brew. We witnessed how many families’ lives are better because of the relationship they have with the De la Gente co-op. We participated in some of the very challenging work of harvesting and processing the coffee fruit. Most importantly, we got to connect with some of the inspiring people that make our business possible; the coffee farmers of Guatemala and the staff at De la Gente, along with our friends at Zion Coffee.

This was a trip that I’ll remember for the rest of my life and I’m excited to take what we’ve learned there and apply it to how we do coffee at Eli’s.

– Weston Berchtold

So where do we go from here, knowing what we know now? The power of new knowledge lies in it’s effectiveness to spur us on to change and grow!

Weston and I have put together a list of goals that we will work to achieve based on the experiences from our trip.

  • Promote further education about how coffee is grown and harvested around the world and the importance of sustainable and fair practices, through the platform¬† of our shops and media voice.
  • Ensure that all of the coffee we serve in our shops is ethically and sustainably sourced through either Fair Trade or Direct Trade relationships.
  • Reduce the amount of waste and coffee spills that happen. Each bean is precious.

We also invite you to reach out to us with any questions you may have about coffee or this series that we’ve put together. If you know of an opportunity to share our experiences to a wider audience, we’d love to hear about it! Thank you all so much for reading along and we hope that this was a fun and insightful look into specialty coffee production!

– Rachel Berchtold