Hello, coffee friends! I’m writing to you straight off the plane from our coffee farm in the Philippines. I’ve decided to begin a short series – yet untitled – as a recurring article in the Colorado Coffee People Zine. I also want to share it here.
When my husband and I planted our coffee farm last year, we didn’t have the slightest clue what we were doing. We listened to the only guy around for miles – a local university professor – and more or less took his word for it on when/where/how to plant the seedlings he provided us.
Do I blame us for this decision? Not at all. We reached out and did what we could at the time. However, one year later, we’ve already had our fair share of trials with our farm. Ok, a lot of trials.
For one thing, we didn’t take any soil samples before planting. Which sounds so obvious typing it out here, and made me feel so painfully ignorant as a research friend of ours surveyed our seedlings and asked if we’d been to the soils lab yet.
We didn’t take samples. We didn’t even think about it.
Just one item on an endless list of SO much we don’t know.
As we start from scratch, committed to our farm and our dream with all of its growing pains and humiliations, I’ve decided to share our discoveries with all of you. This is information that baristas rarely get to touch. Even if a barista is fortunate enough to visit origin, they don’t have to deal with the pain of low yields and tight margins. They don’t have to wonder who will pay to have their soil analyzed, and then pay for fertilizer to help correct nutrient deficiencies.
But as a barista going through this process firsthand, I know this is the kind of information I’d like to hear, and so without further ado – I present the first challenge in our series. Future discussions will include propagating a seedling nursery, harvesting, specifics of processing and beyond!
But first, let’s get down to the dirty. Literally. Let’s talk about SOIL. Stay tuned!