Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

Guatemala Cup of Excellence 2006 & Guatemala Travels

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an extended trip, the last of coffee comeptitions i judged, consecutively, a lot of time away from home. a mere 5 pages of pictures (hey, thats a lot less than the peru trip this year!) also, the winning farms and jury list. also, my cupping data.
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welcome to antigua guatemala
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fancy bird
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fancy bird's friend
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aesthetic compounds. what a nice way to keep people out. better than chain link.
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angus and eva, 2 crazy midgets from portland
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a series of paintings, portraying divine interventions. very nice.

A Coffee Travelers Lament - Part 1

I bought a pair of Ray-ban sunglasses at Costco. I went on a trip to El Salvador and to Guatemala to cup coffees. The chances of returning with Costco Ray-bans still in my possession were slim. I am resigned to this: spend money on decent sunglasses and you will invariably lose them. Pay a few bucks for trashy ones, and when you lose them, you won’t even stop to care.

But here I lie at the rustic and remote Crowne Plaza in Guatemala City, the last night of the 2-week excursion, and there I see a pair of Ray-bans, slightly tweaked. Dreams come true!

Did you ever wish for something you never really wanted and then you got it and realized that you are crazy not to want it, so basically, you are nuts. Well, that’s the kind of problem you can hash out in between cupping sessions because while you actually taste coffee there is little computing power to spare. The fact is, what dogs do effortlessly, process sensory input, and takes every anemic little brain cell I have. You ask yourself over and over “I know that! What is that? I can’t remember. It’s so familiar. What the hell is that?” You may also wander a bit and wonder where you are, how you got here, and what exactly ARE you doing anyway. And those questions might be easier to answer than the task at hand.

Anyway, much underwear is knotted up over this coffee tasting stuff (woe to the inspector who opens this coffee tasters suitcase).

Traveling is recognition of outsider ness. I am an out-of-towner. I am an alien. I wish I could understand. I am reading all of the clues. There seems to be so many signs, telling me, but really there is a silence everywhere. What does it mean to photograph all these small businesses,  stalls, carts, decipher their signs, see what they offer, how they offer it. It is certainly the most accessible signifier for the out-of-towner. But it says little. I am like a foreign part, something extraneous from another machine. This machine makes no sense. Incompatible technologies. My machine is just an overrepresented culture. They have heard of it too, and they don’t get it.

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a series of paintings, portraying divine interventions. roadside vw bug breakdown.
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a series of paintings, portraying divine interventions.
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a series of paintings, portraying divine interventions. my husband was a bum, now he helps clean the house!
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a series of paintings, portraying divine interventions.
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at the coop arts place in antigua, a very nice store to buy stuff from around the country. 3/4 lifesize dolls.
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nice trucks, too heavy for suitcases
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oh, scarey
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main cathedral, antigua. on the main square.
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typical streets. antigua is probably 1 step up from new orleans and very accessible, too accessible and too american some people might complain. but it still a nice place, if a bit swank
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coffee beans. signs in english
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again, beautiful compounds
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church falling down
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cobblestone skateboarding. think you have it rough, suburban skate rat?
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funny cafe with little roasters. fernando knew of sweet maria's. really nice guy.
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where else can you find a micro roaster that hulls/peels his own coffee from parchment right before roasting? fernando's cafe in antigua guatemala.
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micro roasters that fernando built
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big fat dog - probably the fattest dog i have ever seen in central america
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2 tired guys, 2 solders

Parte Dos

El Salvador – I am not quite sure what it means to travel “internationally” anymore. When you leave the airport and see Holiday Inns, Intercontinentals, KFCs, Cinnabon, Taco Bell, Burger King, and of course McDonalds … well, where are you? I guess that is why I seek out everything anachronistic, all the hand painted signs for incomprehensible businesses. They make me happy, they make me feel I am somewhere else. I was trying to explain to a couple fellow coffee judges why my iPod music playlist when I travel contains no marimba music, no native flutes, no samba, no salsa . No, I listen to Iron Maiden and old Metallica, Pipe Organ Musciale and Private Press Lounge Singers from the ‘60s, Califiornia Hot Rod and Surf, and a million unknown Japanese bands. Why? For the same reason; I feel like an alien, and that I don’t belong. What is wrong with being from a different culture, asking for help because you don’t understand (or at last asking for someone to speak Spanish more slowly). Why should people speak English to me when I want to learn better Spanish anyway, Because I am afraid of a place where I am not in charge, where I can’t go anywhere and order a double raspberry latte or  find the nearest Gap? Well, Latin America is becoming that place too and I only hope it is because the people genuinely want that. Otherwise, there is something sad about all these new sub developments, and malls. Still I must say, the French fries at a Guatemalan McDonalds kick ass (they use real lard to fry them).

Sorry for the lament. Let’s move on.

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favorite tree
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the fancy place we stayed were seminary ruins
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the place was excavated, many of the crypts are intact, some reconstructed
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headstone
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a vault
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a vaultee

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Winning Farms 2006 Cup of Excellence -Guatemala

Lot #         Farm         Farmer         Score         Lot Size*

International Coffee Cuppers for Guatemala 2006

guatemala cup of excellence coffee farm map


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