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Coffee Investigation in Photos


Here we would love to introduce you to the farms and some highlights of the area, as well as about the journey with photos.

There is a number of fascinating encounter with people, culture, local food, and so on in a journey.

La Antigua Atitlan Guatemala
The visit to Guatemala is the second at this time, and we purchase the coffee of the Urias farm of the district of Antigua since the last visit every year and am the coffee of the favorable reception in our store.
Mr. Hector who met again explained the damage of the heavy rain after a long absence as if I remembered the last time. The damage of the heavy rain in Central and South America is severely, and the harvest largely reduces it by the outbreak of bacteria by a flood and the high humidity.
The remarkable rise of the coffee market price seems to have a big such reason, too.
But still, the Guatemalan scenery does not change and lets you always feel greatness of nature.
The Ceylan farm of the Atitlan district to have chosen as a straight production center new this time. It is a farm of the management that it is located southwest, and attached great importance to the environment in the small town called Pochuta of the Lake Atitlan. The altitude is not so high in 1100 - 1500M, but, at the farm which utilized the whole mountain on nature, and is cultivated, acquires the Rain Forest Certification, Bird-Friendly, the JAS Organic Certification, the USDA Organic Certification.
Chiapas Oaxaca Mexico

Chiapas was one of my long-cherished producing areas to visit. Organic agriculture has been prospered in Mexico, and Pt. Tapachula (Chiapas) is especially famous for producing high quality coffee.

Earlier, we have visited Huatulco and Pluma Hidalgo (1 hour drive from Huatulco) in Oaxaca. There were continuous mountain chains dotted with small towns in each ridge. The towns were pretty fascinating and I could feel the long histry of relation between people and coffee here.

Then we once got back to Mexico City (because it was quite dengerous to take a land route from Oaxaca), and flew to our main destination Tapachula. The coffee farm is located in mountainous area near Mexico-Guatemala border, 5 hour drive from the city.

This time, we visited each producer with a guidance of UDEPOM co-op, although we have currently made a purchase through ISMAM co-op. This cooperation has also gotten the organic certification of JAS, and their practice of classic farming style was pretty impressive. Mexican coffee production is a bit unique compared to that of other countries in Central America: they are practically well experienced in a good sense, but technically outdated in a bad sense.

They expeienctinally know well that shade trees are greatly effective for cultivating coffee trees, and have produced coffee with wonderful flavor with the terroir. I'm sure that their coffee will be ranked higher as specialty coffee if they manufacture more precisely, especially in drying and purifying process.

Manhuacu Cerrado Mogiana Brazil

It was our third time to visit Brazil. There is a large number of coffee farms in Brazil obviously as you see its vast country, and this time, we have visited Mogiana, Cerrado, and Matas de Minas.

Mogiana is named after the Compania Mogiana Estrada de Ferro train line that used to be running the area. We flew from São Paulo to Altinopolis, and Pt. Canaa is located one hour ride from the city. The farm is owned by a sister of Ferrero who is the owner of the distinguished farm Pantano. There had been many Japanese immigrants, and we had an oppotunity to talk with eldery producers about the time of reclaimation. Canaa has gotten the Rainforest Alliance Certification. They are aware of the importance of environmental conservation, and they have taken good care of their land succeeded by their ancestors.

Then we have moved to Pt.Botanica in Cerrado to see Mr. Paulo with whom we have a long-term relationship. He said "I'm always thinking about HIRO's customers while working. Please tell them that I try my best to keep producing great coffee so that they can enjoy pleasant time with it.

We have also visited Manhuacu as final destination. It is hardly known in Japan yet, but it is surrounded by mountains and the scenery is completely different from that of Cerrado and Mogiana. There is a lot of shade trees and windbreaking forest among the producing area, and we went to see Mr.Vicente whose farm had won COE Brazil in 2000.

Mesa de los Santos Santander Columbia

Mesa de los Santos is located in Santander, north Columbia. We flew from Bogota to Bucaramanga first, and took 2 hours of drive from the airport to get to the point on the plateau.

One of the biggest peculiarity is the number of certifications they have gotten so far - Bird Friendly, Rainforest Alliance, USDA Organic, and JAS Organic. It is an ideal farm that is devoted to both environmental conservation and finest coffee cultivation.

Recently, ecotourism has been promoted and getting popular there, and they have built some facilities as guest houses and restaurants. Therefore, there seem to be lots of visiters besides those in coffee business. Since the farm has been a good model of a specialty coffee production area, the president has visited here as well, and SCAA has hold lectures of specialty coffee farming.

My first impression of the farm is the silence of the forest, cool air, sound of runnning water, and birds' singing, and I felt as though my heart were being purished listening to that beautiful sounds. Considering its vast land, it's incredible that the whole farm has been cultivated by human. The coffee trees are growing healthily, the leaves are deep green, and the cherrys are fresh under the protection of the forest, and I was fascinated by all of them.

The owner Mr. Oswald runs a coffee roasting company by himself as well and is successful as an industrialist. He also suggests the importance of environmental conservation in his business policy. He has tried cultivation of variety species (Caturra, Tipica, Burbon, and some African native species) so far, and currently started cultivating Geisha as well. We mainly purchase Caturra and Tipica for selling.

Pt.Huila (south Columbia) was another cultivation area which I had wished to visit for a long time. We had a flight from Bogota to Neiva Airport, and took 6 hours drive to the west for getting the town Timana. Women in this town likely to be brave, and I heard that there was a woman beheaded a spanish invader in his sleep for a revenge long time ago.

This time, we had a guide from Ban Export, which has attracted public attention as an exporter of specialty coffee in Columbia. First, we visited Kaney co-op in Pitarito, which is the biggest coffee dealer in Huila. We had cupping of coffee from some cooperations in Huila earlier, and we visited some of them. Not only those which had the verification of Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance, but also one that was established for supporting women's independence.

We mainly purchase beans from Mesa de los Santos in north Santander and south Huila or Nariño for Columbia coffee. While those from the north have relatively weaker acidity and softer texture, those from the south have a characteristic of stronger acidity and body. Thus we make good use of each characteristic.

It was our first African country to visit, and we went to Pt. Uru & Machare in Moshi (north Tanzania), which had been prospered as a coffee production district.

We were quite surprised as soon as we met the owners at the airport - they were the same owners of Pt.Kilimanjaro, with whom we used to have dealings. They seem to have been running Pt.Uru/Machare and working as managers of Pt.Kilimanjaro at the same time. The cultivation area is located in the foot of Mt.Kilimanjaro, and Pt.Kilimanjaro has Good Inside Verification and the other has that of Rainforest Alliance. There is a bunch of finely prepared shade trees spreaded wholethrough the area, and there is a great view of Mt.Kilimanjaro behind - I wonder they have more beautiful view than any other coffee farm in the world.

Mr. and Mrs. Medoch are immigrants from Germany, and Mr. Ralph has charge of management and Mrs.Bente supervising the farm as an agricultural engineer. We have felt their extraordinary affection for the farm, and it was worth coming all the way to this place. - We are deeply grateful to have met them.

After coming back to Japan, they informed us that they won third of Rainforest Alliance Cupping for Quality competition in the year. It must be the fruit of their affection, and worthy of great praise.


It is needless to say that Ethiopia is a sacred place of coffee culture, and there was a speechless impression that we could make to come to the birthplace.

This time, we have visited Jimma (6 hours drive from Addis Ababa to the west) and Yirgacheffe (7 hours drive from Addis Ababa to the south).

In Jimma, we went inspecting Pt.Limu that we had made a purchase through a state-run farm. The scenery of the vast land with well-prepared shade trees was just marvelous. They intend ecosystem protection and a mutual prosperity with local residents, and have gotten USDA organic certification, now applying for the Rainforest Alliance certification.As for Yirgacheffe, it is a regular production area for coffee lovers, and most of the farms are small scale in which we can see their traditional garden coffee. There is a variety of native species from old days in this area, and they bring peculiar flavor with the rich terroir.

While our staying there, there was DST (Direct Specialty Trade) held through ECX (Ethiopia Commodity Exchange) in Addis Ababa, and we had an oppotunity to go observation. Here, all the coffee in the entry are to be graded, and only those coffees which score 80 points or above (on a 100-point scale in the SCAA score sheet) will be dealed with buyers from around the world.

There was a tense atmosphere among the dealers, and I could feel that the market share of Ethiopia coffee would be enpanding more. Although we intended to join the trading too, but we abandoned because there was a worry of residual agricultural chemicals. I think this is one of the problems we can learn from a inspection on the spot.


After changing flights and cars from Panama City, we finally arrived at a coffee town Boquete. There was a number of farms that had cultivated Geisha, which had been the center of global atenttention in coffee business. Also, ecotourism has been popular in this country, and they have taken meagers to environmental conservation. I think they have suggested an ideal environment for coffee production as Costa Rica has. We could stay relatively longer in Boquete and take enough time to see around each farm, and could learn their technique and thought about coffee cultivation.

Especially, I really liked Pt.Gran del Val, which already had put environmental management into practice before the Rainforest Alliance Verification was created. The owner Mr.Fernandes has been pretty lively though he is now in his eighties, and he guided us around the farm - I feel finest coffee always reflects the personality of the owner. I heard that they also had offered ecotourism for observing the farm, and lots of tourists came on the season.

Boquite - it is such an attractive city for both coffee and a resort. We wish to come back to this lovely place some day again.
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