The business of coffee relies on the shared passion of coffee people all over the world, and this section is dedicated to introducing the members of our diverse, dynamic supply chain. Here we ask a few fun questions of our partners at origin, our employees, and our customers; and we share their answers with you so that you can get to know them like we do—in their own words.
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Jorge Recinos, Finca Nueva ArmeniaIn the remote northwest of Guatemala, in the storied coffee region of Huehuetenango, the farmhouse of Finca Nueva Armenia sits nestled in at the bottom of a high, steep mountain canyon. First planted with coffee by the Recinos family in the 1940’s, the farm is dotted with natural springs that provide fresh, crystal-clean water for the farm, the family, and for washing the coffees after fermentation—undoubtedly a major part of the perfectly clean flavor of the Recinos’ coffee. Managed by Jorge Recinos and his twin brother Javier, Finca Nueva Armenia was one of the first certified organic farms in Guatemala; they’ve been farming organically here since the 90’s, which makes them one of the oldest organic coffee farms in the region. Famously, Jorge, Javier, and family are as jovial and pleasantly easy going as they are fanatically devoted to coffee quality and sustainability on the farm. Perhaps better than ever this year, the 2007 harvest of the Recinos’ coffee is especially floral, gently fruity, clean, and balanced—the quintessential morning cup—and one of the best Central American coffees ever. Recently, we were able to catch up with Jorge:
Q: How did you start producing coffee?
It all began in 1994, when the market price of coffee rose and people were going crazy with joy in Huehuetenango. I was 22 years old and my father, Don Antonio, managed the farm with my older brother Tono, neither of whom wanted help or opinions on producing coffee from me or my twin brother Javier. Javier and I decided to forget about coffee, start a restaurant and return to the university to study organic agriculture and environmental engineering. We earned money and saved it to buy a pick-up truck, which impressed our father enough that he invited us back to the farm to help with the harvest in 1996. That was the first time that all three of us brothers were in charge, and it was challenging: Javier and I really want to produce coffee in harmony with the natural environment and Tono studied more conventional, large-scale agronomy.
Q: Where were you born?
I was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, in October of 1971, the older twin by seven minutes.
Q: Could you share some thoughts about your coffee?
I hope that it is appreciated and enjoyed, and that it brings smiles and happiness to those who drink it. In addition to giving people energy and motivation to work, I hope that it touches their hearts and souls, because our coffee is for the heart as well as the body.
Q: Do you have children?
My beautiful wife Ana and I have twin girls: Ana Isabel and Ana Paula. They’re mischief-makers, but they’re wonderful. We are expecting another girl, Sara, at the end of October. I’m surrounded by women!!! It’s a beautiful thing. We all love the country and the natural world, thank goodness, because otherwise Nueva Armenia could not survive.
Q: What is a regional food specialty of Huehuetenango?
Tostadas (tortillas with the crunchy texture of nachos) with avocado, chicken, chile, onion, and anything else you’d like. They’re excellent to eat while watching a movie, but very noisy.
Q: What makes your coffee so special?
The surrounding environment makes the coffee special because we live in a high-altitude valley, which is pretty unique. Very few places exist where you can find the old forest, coffee, natural springs and wild animals that we have. We have a very traditional respect for the forest and the environment.
Q: The life of a coffee producer requires a lot of work. What do you do to relax with your free time?
I go out with my wife and daughters, spend a little time in the sauna, and lay around in the hammock.
Q: Who is a hero of yours?
My mother and father.
Q: What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe: the sound, the force of the water and the monkeys and baboons everywhere are spectacular.
Q: Huehuetenango is home to many species of wildlife. What kinds of animals have you seen on your farm?
We have armadillos, anteaters, weasels (they steal our eggs), skunks, woodpeckers, parakeets, other birds, rabbits and mountain lions. I just saw a pair of raccoons at the river at 11 at night drinking water and searching for crabs.