My Backstory With Coffee

SethMombachoThe image to the right is from twenty years ago, during my first foray into the world of coffee. It is not the most flattering photo, but it will do. I was eight, on location with my brother and parents at a worksite in Nicaragua. One part of the project was the development of a coffee tour, and my brother and I were tasked with testing how a young person might react to that experience. The expression on my face was, I suppose, a slightly embarrassed result of how little coffee I had managed to pick relative to the basket’s capacity. There was plenty of coffee to be picked, but these 20 years later I still remember how hard that work was.

SethGalapThe second foray was in 2011, back in the same region of Nicaragua, but as an intern documenting the coffee growing and maintenance process, as well as having the pleasure of zooming over a coffee plantation on a canopy tour zip line.

Just a year later, my third foray came when I spent the summer living on an organic farm freshly planted with coffee. What made it special, even spectacular, was that the farm was one of the rare private properties in the Galapagos Islands and was situated in the vicinity of the forests where the giant tortoises roam.

The fourth foray, which I wrote about in these pages, was between 2014 and 2016. I participated in each step from germination, to planting, harvesting, processing, roasting and cupping. I created a coffee tour on property that was an echo of the work done 15 years earlier in Nicaragua.

My fifth and most recent foray, over the last few years, has been the start up of Organikos. During the months leading up to starting graduate school I developed a plan with my parents to launch the coffee business as part of their Authentica venture. That brick and mortar retail approach worked out very well, until the world changed a few months ago. So now online and onward…

In Anticipation of Global Big Day, 2020

In a bit over a week, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s yearly push for a massive, coordinated citizen science effort in birdwatching will take place. On May 9th, I’ll be trying to see as many bird species as I can within my neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut, just like I did last year, when I photographed the Black-and-white Warbler pictured below (recently featured as a Bird of the Day, if it looks familiar). But this time around, I’ll be part of the Spoonbills Dream Team, raising money for the BirdsCaribbean campaign to support the Journal of Caribbean Ornithology.

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