Throwback Thursday: Coffee at La Cumplida, Nicaragua

Finca workers heading home at the end of the day

It’s that day of the week again, and I’ve found yet another post from roughly this time several years ago (in this case ~3) that relates to the work I’m doing now. Although I was not performing the physical labor that James and I have helped with at Xandari when I was in Nicaragua during the summer of 2011, I was learning all about the steps that go from the seed to the cup, as they say in the business.

Soon, I hope to experience the Costa Rican side of things, and next week (next Thursday, in fact) I’ll hark back to the Galápagos style of Continue reading

Robusta, Liberian, Arabica: a visit to a coffee plantation in the Western Ghats

Coffee plantation - Spring Valley, Kerala credit Ea Marzarte - Raxa Collective

Coffee plantation – Spring Valley, Kerala

Evan’s research on agroforestry in Ecuador  inspired me to learn more about coffee in India.  No coffee seed sprouted outside Africa or Arabia before the 17th century. Legend has it this all changed when a pilgrim named Baba Budan smuggled fertile coffee beans out of Mecca strapped to his stomach. Returning to his native India, he successfully cultivated the beans near Mysore.Commercial cultivation began in 1840 when the British rule established Arabica coffee plantations throughout the mountains of Southern India. Till today much of the production comes from the Western Ghats. Initially Arabica was widespread, but Continue reading

First Week Of Shade Coffee Research, Ecuador

Typical landscape mosaic of Barrio Nuevo

Typical landscape mosaic of Barrio Nuevo

Isabel and I arrived safe and sound to Barrio Nuevo, Pichincha, Ecuador (0.224063°, -78.559691°) on May 21 to begin our study on a shade coffee agroforestry initiated seven years ago (see my blog for background info). We moved into the home of Juan Guevara, the local coffee promoter, and his family. It’s a simple concrete house with a kitchen and three bedrooms.After settling in, we spent a day with Juan going to the homes of various farmers growing coffee to introduce ourselves.

We spent the next three days conducting surveys with the coffee producers as well as visiting, evaluating, and mapping their coffee plots. As I expected, we quickly learned a lot about the problems with the shade coffee project that was implemented about seven years ago. Continue reading

Who am I and what am I doing in Ecuador?

I ask myself that every so often. My name is Evan Barrientos, I was raised in suburban Wisconsin and I go to school at Cornell University in upstate New York. So why am I on a farm in Ecuador right now? The short answer is that I’m about to begin a study on sustainable agriculture and I thought the readers of Raxa Collective might like to hear about it.

Farmer Evan

Farmer Evan

I’m interested in large-scale conservation solutions that make big impacts. There’s nothing wrong with small changes, I’ve just always been a big-picture kind of person. Continue reading