Guatemala City, Guatemala
My time slowly passed in my native city of Denver, Colorado, naturally I had itchy feet and Wanderlust took hold. Having lived from home to home, mattress to mattress and cheap beer to cheaper beer for the past three months in hopes of the Snooze shuttle launch, I began to see the larger picture. Namely, Life didn't happen in my time frame.
So l did what any kid In the situation would;packed up my belongings and headed off to Central America. Homes, mattresses and beer would be substantially cheaper there anyway. Yet as l played in the dear blue seas of the Bay Islands in Honduras, escorting my fellow man through the corals and currents that lie in the blissful Caribe world, l hoped to pull something larger out of my experience.
While my holistic pursuit aspired for global alteration, quite often l would be content with a solid chat here, a good tip there, or a grand food find. Not to downplay the plethora of burgers and fries my diet consisted of within Roatan, but I knew my largest culinary discovery would come from the legal plant of this region: The great java bean.
So l hung up my fins and left my tarantula infested flat. l jumped on the bus and stared at poorly translated Steven Seagal films whilst devouring plantain chips and downing cola in a Ziploc bag. Thirty five solid hours later, | arrived in Guatemala City. Here I was to meet with the owners of a 100 year old, family-owned coffee finca [farm in Spanish), apparently interested in educating neophyte on the art of the bean. Attired in the sole pair of pants I brought, cheesy Dive Roatan sweatshirts, and flip flops, I staggered into my coffee contacts family home; a representative of the next great culinary evolution in Colorado.
l thought they were going to give me the chance to change instead I spent the next few hours delving into the life of Guatemala. Then moving onto the coffee bean itself, in which my progressively numbing questions brought outright shock to their faces. It was as if I'd emerged from the wilderness and wanted to know what these annoying fork and spoon things were all about.
Yet they were amazing to me. lf l had to walk away and choose one family to represent the culture and virtues of Guatemala, l'd state we should all raise our youth there. I returned to my hostel at midnight, and guzzled down a few Gallos and wrote a dissertation to my family on coffee and all its glory!
'Did you know there are 13 different types of Arabic, and then one Robust, but Robust is not good because it's grown like and here is there and yada yada.'
Still, assuredly it’s the greatest research paper I've ever conducted. Rising the next day, I hustle back to my hosts’ house to begin a caffeinated indulgence lo keep the education alive. I think l became addicted, weaned off, addicted and once more all in a spell of my 15 cup day.
Jumping In the truck with Eduardo, we drive for an hour outside of Guatemala city to the Moyuta Volcano, home of the wonderful juice I’m gulping down and Eduardo's home town.
Here, l deem Eduardo mayor, as the town virtually throws a parade as our pick-up bounces about this San Francisco graded streets, though asphalt gives way to dirt. l'm welcomed to his home, where my staggering Spanish allows me to compliment the coffee. gallo pinto, and wonderful home. It stages as the town's funeral well; Convenient really.
Eduardo and l jump back in the truck to head to the plantation where for the next few hours l see firsthand where this magical bean is created. lt's stages, the varieties, the slope and soil of the land, the natural mill and dry bed, the natural means in which it’s generated, the attention to environment and the care for it's continued prosperity.
And it's gorgeous. l'm in the middle of a Guatemalan rainforest surrounded by coffee with the Pacific Ocean way off in the distance. We machete our way through the land, pick native unidentifiable fruit, we fire weapons because, well, I'm not sure why, but there needs to be a first time for anything. This is one of the moments that simply bring a smile fur great fortune and experience.
Yes, l met with other growers. l tasted countless cups of coffee. I've read books from the origins to how Starbucks took over the world. What I was able to discover was great coffee and furthermore, experience, friendship, and culture. As with any great product, there should be a great story. There should be a great message or memory sparked. Here's hoping each sip of Snooze Blend, imported directly from the small farm in Guatemala, will inspire a moment of adventure, determination, or simple tranquility.