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I (Joel) first visited Yepocapa, Guatemala in November 2015. On this trip I got to see and experience first hand all that goes into producing coffee beans. I was captivated by the process of picking, processing the cherries, and drying the beans. But it was the farmers and people who captivated my heart. Their lifestyle, their hardship, and their inability to change their own circumstances made me want to help in some way. At the end of this trip Don Timeoteo, the president of La Cooperative San Pedrana, sent me home with five pounds of green coffee beans, and that is where my roasting story began.
I started roasting in a popcorn popper, then moved on to my oven, and then a Behmor. I began to research and experiment with the science of coffee beans and how roasting effects them. It was fascinating to me and I greatly enjoyed learning the variables I could control to improve the performance and flavors of the beans. As time went on more and more people asked to buy my beans after having a cup of my coffee. I was simply unable to produce enough beans to meet even a fraction of the demand and wanted to be able to control my roasts with more precision. So we decided to take a step of faith, buy a bigger roaster, and jump into the adventure of starting our own business.
While in Guatemala I met many wonderful people and saw how much the coffee industry can change their circumstances. The farmers are extremely thankful for what they have and are so generous! Don Timeoteo actually went out on his own at the end of the day to get my 5lbs of green beans ready for me so that I could take them home. I could see the joy that it brought him to share the fruit of his labor with me!
Now, we have the opportunity to give back to Don Timeoteo, the other farmers, and the people of this village by roasting and selling Yepocapa Coffee to you!! I have chosen to exclusively buy, roast, and sell coffee from regions that we have personal relationship with not just to make a profit, but to make a difference in peoples lives. We are starting with Yepocapa and will continue to pursue relationships across the world to help encourage and support farmers and their families from all walks of life!
We are paying the farmers in Yepocapa over twice as much per pound for their coffee beans as they would make selling them to the commodity market. As they continue to work to improve their beans that price can increase. This gives them incentive to work hard and receive a return directly connected to their effort. It gives them what we all desire, the ability to be proud of work and the ability to support our families. Therefore, the more coffee we sell the more money these farmers make.
I also fell in love with the teachers and children at this school. Since returning home we have been able to help raise money to replace one of their dirt floor rooms with tile floor, and to help meet other financial needs within the school. We would love to invest more into the children, teachers, and facilities!