|In the morning, we visited a large-scale farm
owned by its workers, and met with leaders of the Association of Coffee
Workers (ATC), which is a coalition of such cooperative farms and the unions representing farmers
on traditional haciendas. It was there that we learned first-hand about
the incredible actions taken by Matagalpa's coffee growers during the
most recent Coffee Crisis. (Read a brief account on NicaNet.)
|Following that very
informative visit, we visited Sol Cafe, the coffee processing plant for
CECOCAFEN members. There we had a tour of the dry-processing operation
and a demonstration of cupping.
Our incredible luck continued, for we arrived at the cupping laboratory
just in time for the end of Paul Katzeff's annual coffee-buying trip.
Mr. Katzeff is a legend in the coffee business, having founded both
Thanksgiving Coffee and the Specialty Coffee Association. He was the
first to bring cupping technology to the farmers, and he once sued the
Reagan Administration to help end its blockade of Nicaragua.
Mr. Katzeff continues to be active in promoting social justice in
Nicaragua and elsewhere in coffee-growing lands. It was an amazing
privilege for us to hear his story first-hand, and to learn about
cupping directly from this master.
Cupping is simply a ritual for tasting and testing coffee; it has long
been part of the coffee business. Mr. Katzeff 's innovation was to
ensure that this expertise was in the hands of both buyers and sellers
of coffee. With better information about the quality of their product,
sellers can both demand a fairer price and continuously improve their
Sol Cafe is a very advanced (ISO 9001 certified) cupping lab in
Matagalpa ; CECOCAFEN also operates smaller labs in three locations
closer to the growers.
The dry process ...
We then departed for Finca Esperanza Verde (Green Hope Farm), a retreat
with coffee, waterfalls, rainforest walks, and a butterfly house.