As I write this month’s The View I am surrounded by the beautiful Andes Mountains at the Granja Esteban Jaramillo retreat center in the Venecia Municipality of Antioquia, Colombia. Our industry never ceases to amaze me. Whether it is at Roasters Guild Retreat or the Best Cup Contest in Antioquia, coffee people share camaraderie, passion and a yearn to learn. And at the heart of it all is a profound respect for the producers and their families.
Antioquia Governor, Sergio Fajardo Valderrama, had a vision to end the cycle of violence, corruption and inequity. He decided to “bet” on coffee to create societal change. His method: create a better-educated coffee farmer. After three years here in the last corner of the mountains, his motto “La Mas Educada” – is clearly working. The coffee farmers of Antioquia have become the heroes of their communities and dignity is being restored to the profession and opportunities are being created for the future.
One activity during the intense week here has created a lasting impact in my mind: The Coffee Olympics. The creative leadership team paired teens who have been studying in the coffee camps with seasoned industry cuppers to compete for the best cup. Each of the three teams had freshly picked coffee cherries and within one hour was to sort, mill, roast, and brew the best cup possible. The joy and determination in the faces of these future coffee experts, along with the creative and supportive guidance from the team leaders made for an inspirational and moving moment where everyone one was a winner.
And speaking of creative, fun, exhilarating competitions, SCAA is right around the corner and this year we bring back the Charity Scavenger Hunt in Stretch Limousines. The event will be Saturday April 11th in Seattle and begin at the close of the show floor. Get ready for a whirlwind evening with a pre-hunt party, two hours of laugher and entertainment, and end with a post-hunt celebration and prizes. All of this is to benefit two coffee charities: Grounds for Health and the Fundación Educar.
Those of you who have participated in the past events know the power of working together as a team to achieve greatness in this exciting event. We have a few seats and a few sponsorships open so if you would like to participate, email me and I will send you the information.