We are very proud to be supplying in conjunction with Thrive Coffee Farmers coffee from the San Rafael Urias Estate in Antigua Guatemala. This coffee is a phenomenal addition to our coffees and we are very proud to be carrying it. Thrive works not only to create a system where coffee farmers see a larger percentage of final coffee sale, but a relationship to the farmer as well. We were thrilled to get in contact with farmer Raul Arturo Valdez Castillo and ask him some question about his farm, Thrive, and other coffee related questions. Note: our conversation is through a translation program. We have cleaned up the conversation grammatically while maintaining original intent.
Tell us about your history in coffee
My name is Raul Valdes Arturo Castillo, I am the fourth generation of coffee farmers in my family. My father currently manages the estate and appears in the photos of San Rafael Urias Estate. I did it this way to pay tribute to the person who for 40 years has taught me to work in such a wonderful art to produce a high quality coffee to the U.S. and Europe.
Tell us about the San Rafael Urias Farm and its practices
The farm is operated with high production standards. We do not use herbicides or chemicals that degrade the land, but practice sustainable management starting from seedlings, utilizing quality agricultural practices, good milling processing using 100% pure water and drying yards as a natural process. This has been rewarded in our achievements in the Cup of Excellence
in Guatemala, receiving national awards.
As a farmer, what is your option of certification programs such as Fair Trade? How does Thrive differ?
On fair trade, I think we’ve been hurt by large buyers of coffee in Guatemala, and we are paid very low prices while people at the end of the value chain get high prices. The gain remains in intermediaries in Guatemala, a situation that made me look for new alternatives in selling coffee.
Thrive Farmers appeared in late October of last year. Michael Jones, Ken Lander and Alejandro Garcia have generated hope for many coffee producers in Guatemala. We as producers we see what they are doing and stand ready to work with them. Producers now can come to you to try and have an interaction with people who are really in contact with the end consumer and together we can discover new trends and tastes.
Is there any information you would like to know from our side, do you have any questions for us?
I would love to know more information about consumers on your end who drink coffee. What do they think about coffee in Guatemala?. And let them know that with each cup of coffee they drink, there are many familes and communities that are being benefited and are generating employment, and many people who get up very early in the morning every day to participate in the production of a good cup of coffee.