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Ragamuffin Coffee Roasters / A Coffee | Colombia | Specialty Coffee

Sharing Our Experience - Going to Origin With A Coffee

 

Andrew Matson - Production Manager

Visiting Colombia with the Ragamuffin team was an unforgettable experience. Andres and his team at A Coffee went out of their way to make us feel at home and show us a part of the world I never thought I'd see. The families and farmers we met were incredibly generous, opening their homes to us and always greeting us with a full meal.
What I will take with me from this trip is the passion these farmers have for their land and crops. A Coffee promotes regenerative farming practices, helping their farmers maintain and, in some cases, regrow topsoil to give the crops the best chance of survival. These families not only live on their farms but also rely on the harvest to feed their loved ones. Their goal is to leave a healthy farm for the next generation.
In the day-to-day stressors of life, we often forget how much of a luxury even a cup of coffee can be. We can enjoy quiet mornings or take a 10-minute break with friends or family because of the hard work and dedication of people like Hidalgo and Don Victor. I will always remember this and treat their efforts with the respect they deserve as we continue striving to provide our community with the best coffee in the world.

Joel Hickenbottom - Oxnard Store Manager

Going to “Origin”, as it’s called, was an amazing first-time experience. Colombia is the third-largest producer of coffee in the world, and the region of Armenia is where most of it comes from. We traveled with Andres and Nathalie of A-Coffee Family for over four hours from Armenia to the historic heritage town of Salamina (Department of Caldas). Once there, we had to drive into the mountains for over an hour across two overflowing rivers using a 4x4 in order to reach the farm of Victor and Patricia. Their farm sits at 1800 meters (5,900 ft) and is producing award-winning coffee cherries for the A-Coffee customers around the world. We got to see the farm and dine with them for an amazing lunch with lots of laughs. It was also here we learned that in this past January while Victor, Patricia and her mother were driving up this same mountain, a vehicle failure led to Patricia’s mother losing her life and Victor being seriously wounded. Patricia’s joyful smile could have fooled us all that afternoon.

Before saying goodbye, we helped them load a recent harvest into new burlap sacks, and in transferring the beans, a few beans fell out onto the concrete outside their house. I watched Victor see the THREE or so beans and pick them up to place them back into the new sacks. I helped him pick up THREE more, to add them to the sack. It was a humbling experience, knowing these SIX TO EIGHT beans were their livelihood—the weight of this harvest was also the weight of their love, labor, effort and also would be how they receive their payment.
Right there, it also hit me that this should be a shared weight that we roasters, baristas and coffee-lovers carry with us. To honor these beans means honoring these families.

When we drove the five hours down the mountain and back to Armenia, Andres and Nathalie were able to hull a selection of these beans so we could roast it and then cup it hours before returning to California. It was here, while cupping, that we were able to do a video call with Victor and Patricia to share our joy and excitement at the flavors we tasted from their labor of love. Later this year, many of you will be able to taste these beans for yourselves.

It is a privilege to enjoy coffee the way we do in our fancy cafes (and homes) with fancy equipment. However, it is my hope that we savor every bean, no matter which Origin around the world, because behind every coffee bean is a family and a community giving their all. Each seed they produce for us carries their story, their livelihood, their pain and their joy. May we honor Victor, Patricia and every farming family when we honor the beans, not taking their hard work for granted. We are all connected and their story is forever a part of the Ragamuffin story.



1 comment

  • Thank you for sharing your experience about your incredible trip! I truly enjoyed reading this, especially as a loyal ragamuffin fan, learning that the owners/team are so dedicated to something so much more than selling coffee but getting in touch with the roots and story behind every coffee bean they work with and more so connecting with people from entirely different worlds through coffee beans is remarkable. Every cup of coffee is a story of its own and so much more, thank you!

    Melissa Munoz

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