Sarah Mykkanen is a smart, passionate, outgoing, level headed, pretty lady—who happens to love coffee. Lucky for us, she also happens to be one of our barista’s here at Heart.
Sarah planned a solo trip to Central America for the next month and a half, where she could soak in the culture and learn about the farming practices that make it possible for her to make delicious coffee here at home. Before Sarah left for her journey, I met with her to discuss what she would be doing and how we would be kept in the loop–a bit of an itinerary run down.
The plan was simple. She would be contacting specific farms that she has enjoyed coffee from. Any knowledge she could gain along the way and take back with her—would only make her a more well-rounded barista.She will be volunteering her time wherever she can on the farms and is planning to keep an open schedule for any opportunities that may arise (she will most likely be meeting up with Wille, while he is sourcing coffee at the end of February!).
We will be sharing some of Sarah’s experiences and pictures through our blog as we receive them via email. I thought I would be editing these written experiences, but I think its’ entirety is worth reading. Thanks Sarah, for keeping us informed!
Sitting here, looking out over the ocean, with a wamr breeze and mangrove trees.
I can finally relax and write about the past few days and my first coffee farm visit! I am in Playa El Tunco, El Salvador, a cute little surfer town….I feel like I have been travelling for a month already.
So, Ricardo Zelaya owns Finca Santa Clara, just outside of Antigua, Guatemala. He was supposed to pick me up at 10:30 and take me out to his farm. At noon, I got a call that he was 10 minutes away. At 12:30, I saw a silver BMW roll slowly by the hostel—I knew it was him. I waved him down and hopped in his car (something I have never done in Guatemala).
A welcoming yet assertive businessman, as we wound through the cobblestone streets of Antigua, Ricardo began asking me about Heart. Asking if I was a roaster or a buyer, if we have wholesale accounts and how much coffee we buy per month. I answered his questions as best I could, explained my connection to the guy who introduced me to Ricardo. I explained that I was just a barista, but I am the one in charge of the final step in the whole coffee chain. I am the one talking to the customer and selling the coffee—and that I wanted to learn more about what he does and bring it back to the customer.
He seemed to respect my answer and the conversation lightened. I appreciate his straight forward, no BS attitude though.