Gratitude / How You Can Help

Anton and I have been thinking a lot lately about all of the incredible support we've gotten from our friends and family, and how much harder this would be without people's surprising and incredible generosity (brief shout out to: our families, Zach, Bob, Jeff, Margo & the Runaways for the big and small ways you've already made Cora Coffee stronger). 

We've also had a lot of people say "I want to help you -- let me know what I can do!" Here are some ways you can help us grow:

1. Follow us on whichever social media platforms you use. We're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@coracoffee).  You can keep up to date with what we're doing, and social media followers make it easier for people to find us on Google. 

2. Tell us what you think. Are you having trouble with the website? Would you rather buy coffee in a 12 oz bag instead of a full pound? How does the coffee taste?  This is a learning experience for both of us, and so your feedback is incredible important to us. The best way to get in touch is by email: coracoffeeroasters at gmail dot com

3. Subscribe to receive Cora Coffee automatically. You'll never run out of coffee, and we'll occasionally send you special coffees or other neat stuff. 

4. Tell your friends where to find us. We don't have enough money to place billboards everywhere announcing our existence, so in order for people to find us we need your help. 


From the Archive: The Perfect Day

8 AM

wake up.

walk to the parish.

smell the bread, see the mountain, feel the sun.

drink coffee.

9 AM

find out that i'll be translating for some visiting physical therapists instead working in the coffee nursery this morning.  ride the back of a pickup out along the lakeshore to a community called ‘cerro de oro.'

2 PM

go to work in the coffee nursery, where today we are mixing cement. 


4 PM

get off work. play soccer with the guys. 

5 PM

head to the parish to check email, etc.

6 PM

make dinner and have good food and good conversation with friends

8 PM

read and journal and drink chai before heading to bed

From the Archive: Settling Into San Lucas

This post was written by Tara in February 2011

I’m about to complete a month here, and things are going really well. The coffee harvest is over, so I’m getting settled into the job I’ll be working for the rest of my time here. I’m really excited about it. The guys I work with are great, so smart and so open and so passionate about great coffee.

I’m sort of apprenticing in the coffee office, which includes a lot of things, including: helping care for the baby coffee plants that the parish distributes to farmers every spring, helping prepare coffee samples for marketing purposes, and caring for the worm compost that provides nutrients for the coffee plants. Eventually I think I’m also going to help out with: planting coffee, helping to sort and redistribute coffee plants, and making wine from coffee beans.  I'm pretty excited. In the meantime, friends and loved ones, prepare yourselves: I’m definitely bringing back coffee wine.

My favorite days are Tuesdays and Sundays, mostly because the market is open,  with people from all of the surrounding communities shopping for vegetables and toothpaste and brightly colored fabrics. We also have eggs for breakfast on Tuesdays and Sundays, and I really like eggs. On Tuesday afternoons I do laundry by hand, which is a slow and very clean process that gives me time to let thoughts swirl around in my brain.




From the Archive: Enin Natcheenat Nachoop Café (sort of)

This post was originally written by Tara in January 2011. 

Coffee picking, so far, has been kind of a disaster, because I got sick almost as soon as I got started. But it is beautiful, standing on these mountains picking coffee with the sun filtering through the leaves, getting covered with layers of dust. The women I work with are incredibly strong, and very warm and welcoming to the strange gringa in their midst.

The variety of coffee grown on this farm grows on bushes that are typically about 10 feet tall or so. The coffee fruit looks like cherries, but only the “pit” actually ends up in your cup. The cherries start out green, are a deep red when they are mature, and if left on the plant turn a shriveled dark brown. The best coffee is picked red, so it’s common to go over the plant about three times during the course of the harvest. 

Because the trees are bigger than you are, the only way to pick coffee is to grab individual branches and pull them down with one hand while picking the cherries with the other. The terrain is steep and rocky, because they are planted on the side of a mountain. This makes picking coffee really interesting actually, because you have to think about it, kind of like a rat strategizing to get the cheese as efficiently as possible. Everybody else was a lot faster at picking coffee partially because their hands were stronger and faster, but also because they were better at planning ahead so they didn’t end up halfway up a tree with their baskets five feet away. I got pretty decent at making bank shots off of rocks, though, which was exciting.

The title of this post is my phonetic mangling “I like to pick coffee” in the Mayan language in my town. In addition the paltry 25 pounds of beans I can pick in a morning, I seem to amuse my hosts.  I’m pretty much convinced that the one truly good and beneficial service that every American abroad can perform is to be unintentional comic relief. For example, I’ve developed a pretty incredible knack for accidentally slapping myself in the face with tree branches when I’m trying to reach the high stuff. 

Despite my pretty consistent incompetence, everybody is genuinely warm and kind and welcoming and I'm really happy to be here. 

From the Archive: The First Few Days

This post was originally written by Tara in January 2011. 

During my interview for this position, one of the questions I was asked to test my Spanish was something along the lines of “What does community mean to you?” At this point, I hadn’t spoken Spanish with a native speaker for any extended period of time in almost two years, so my stumbling answer was mostly a riff on a single very simple and imperfect sentence: "La gente se esta mirando". People are watching one another, always.

People smile at one another in the streets here, and they smile at me. This is very reassuring: it’s the kind of thing I can fall in love with about a place, and though it’s really simple I swear it was the reason I fell in love with my small private liberal arts college and applied only half-heartedly anywhere else.

 Learning about the other side of this shiny golden coin, however, has been one of the most valuable parts of my small private liberal arts education. Even though I don’t know the details, I know that I’m stepping in, as an outsider, to a tightly-knit community. This is a place where most people already have opinions about one another, based on histories both personal and political that I don’t and won’t ever fully understand. My white skin and gringo volunteer gear (khakis, brown shoes, faded t-shirt, cheap plastic watch and woven textile headband) mean that most people’s first impressions of me will occur long before my first real impression of them. So it goes.

This is sort of a nerve-wracking dynamic, I guess. And I’m in a more exotic place than I’ve ever been doing something that is fundamentally very different than what I’m used to with an entirely new cast of characters. Yet, I genuinely feel more at peace and have a stronger sense that the here and the now is what’s right for me than I ever have, ever in my life. The only thing I’m really sure about is that I’ll mess up at least sometimes, cause that’s what happens when you’re young and idealistic and into buying expensive plane tickets to faraway places.

So it goes.