Q & A with Finca Terrerito
Introduction: We started buying a few bags of coffee from Finca Terrerito just assuming they were your normal coffee farmer/importer, but when we came to visit them it made us realize that they were more than just a coffee company. They want their customers to feel like family and that is just what they did for us.
Tell us about your story? I love coffee, it runs in my blood… I was born in Honduras, Central America, and raised in coffee farms. My family could barely make ends meet as coffee farmers when I was a child. In the mid 70s, I had an opportunity to come to the USA. I landed in South Side Chicago not knowing one word of English. Talk about culture shock! Went to public schools in South Side Chicago and enlisted in the US Army as a sophomore in High School — there were not many other opportunities for folks like us back then. The Army was a great experience. It teaches young women/men discipline and team work, among many other things. I highly recommend it to everyone.
How did you get into coffee? It was easy… it was the only thing my family did. We estimate that we have over 500 years of combined family coffee farming experience. My earliest memories are of me with my grandmother in the coffee farms.
What is a typical year like as a coffee farmer even though every season is different? There really is no typical year for coffee farmers. We are always praying for the right amount of sun, rain, no diseases that we can’t control etc… and lately, climate change is making it harder for us in all these fronts. Every year is “magical” for us at Finca Terrerito because we are able to Improve Lives, execute Sustainable Practices in all we do, and provide you extraordinary coffee. In terms of timeline of events, in March we begin maintenance (controlling shade, de-weeding, building soil matter and much more). If we do all this right, we know we will be rewarded with a GREAT harvest. In parallel, we are taking apart our wet processing center and providing all maintenance required. From late November through February, we are in harvest season and everyone is in “game time mode.”
What’s your favorite process of coffee? Washed, Natural etc. Washed, Natural etc. Wet washed is my go to coffee and I drink it from early morning till about noon. Around 2pm, I love a good natural or honey! Come dinner time, I am back to wet washed!
What’s the best part about being a farmer? (Mine would be drinking the coffee). For me, at this stage of my life, best part is Helping others! At Finca T, we call it Improving Lives. The positive impact on so many is the best reward life has to offer, and we could not do this without your support. Thank you.
What are your challenges as a coffee farmer? There are many, but the most critical are: a) Price (the price the farmer gets for his bean), b) finding Labor to pick the beans and c) diseases impacting the coffee trees.
Does one year stick out more than others? 2020 was a bear… COVID made getting labor just about impossible. And on top of that Honduras was hit with 2 back-to-back hurricanes that destroy roads and lots of infrastructure that made it very challenging to get the harvest out.
What can someone that drinks coffee in the Bradenton/Sarasota Florida do differently to impact you as a farmer? Great question. Coffee drinkers can help tremendously by ensuring that they are drinking coffee that is ethically sourced. Do they know where the coffee came from? Who grew it? Who roasted it?
Are there things we can avoid as a coffee connoisseur? Hmmm tough one. I would persuade all roasters to visit origin. To go see a coffee farm during harvest and see what we go through. It will help everyone to understand the challenges of coffee farming and helps forge great long-lasting relationships between farmers and roasters.