Day 4 Shopping is important

So for most of yesterday I cupped. I cupped lots of amazing pre-shipment coffees for us to make some buying decisions. And don’t get me wrong, that’s fun, but for me these trips are about meeting people – seeing the colour of each others’ eyes – and getting an understanding of the challenges of the producer, and them an understanding of what we are doing.

So the itinerary was to go see David Vilca; an amazing new coffee and farm from last year, and one we want to build on going forwards for sure, and then in the afternoon to visit loayza.

I learnt two very different ways these coffees are put together, but remain two very special coffees at the same time.

So the drive to David Vilca is around 1 hour from Caranarvi in a good 4 x 4: I am sure it’s a longer trip in a not-so-good means of transport. When we arrive at the farm we find it all locked up apart from a very friendly dog who is very pleased to see us. We wander around the farm to see if we can find David and no luck. Shouts of “Don David” fall on no ears, so we have a look around a very traditional-style farm, where coffee is the most important and main income. The farm’s very well laid out, very well presented, and super tidy.

So we head back to Caranarvi when the mill manager gets a phone call and we locate David. He has gone to town as he needed to go shopping. He knew we were coming but shopping’s more important. And I 100% agree, I turn up at these places and ruin their plans and ruin their days. It kind of drove home for me that I need to be more understanding. David Vilca coffee all comes from David Vilca’s farm, and it has no name apart from his own. I like this quirkiness.

At this point we learn that David and his wife are keen to meet up with me still, but they’d prefer to meet in Caranarvi. I get to meet the legend, and he is as blunt as he is a great farmer. We have some photos and we have a chat in the town square. He tells me about the problem with his hearing and that this limits his life. Through a translator I asked why he hadn’t got hearing aids, and he replied that just can’t afford them. The mill manager is going to find out for us how we can help with this, and I may ask you guys for some help too.

In the afternoon I find out things that were a bit of a shock to me. Loayza is a big area and is made up of lots of different producers and Feliciano who we have worked with for a few years is one of many producers. But I got to meet Feliciano and he and his family are amazingly lovely people. Very proud of the work they do (quite rightly so). He showed me around the farm and i have lots of photos (to follow soon).

It’s been amazing to finally meet the people who I have talked to and thought about for the past couple of years, with one more to come tomorrow. Exciting times.

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  1. Such a simple but powerful message about his hearing problems and how we could potentially help him and his crew perhaps with a relatively small donation. I hope you’re able to find a way.
    Reminds me of when I once landed at a tiny stilt village on an island off Borneo. There were tons of kids running around playing in the dirt. We had nothing to give them, but I did have some elastic bands and knew a little magic trick with them. Cue the whole village filled with kids playing with lacky bands and big smiles. Not a lasting improvement of course, but we here live in a very safe and comfortable bubble, and often don’t realise how much a small gesture can impact people living in rural parts of the world.
    Looking forward to your trip photos, Steve.

  2. Interesting story on how exciting international buying and selling can be, maybe I need to also get out and about like you. Not just down the road but to other countries to meet different people and do business.

  3. Mr Bilbo is losing his hearing so I know at first hand just how much this restrict someone’s life. I hope you and the mill manager can work out a way of helping David. When you do so, please blog about it so we can help.

  4. Were still waiting for the mill to get back to us, but I will keep badgering them 🙂

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