We have a weakness for coffee. But, like so many people, we didn't truly understand where it came from or who the people were behind the process. Then we took a rather adventurous drive along Guatemala's Lake Atitlan from San Pedro to Santiago and met these friendly guys shoveling coffee berries into 50 kilo bags for transport to the nearest coffee cooperative.
360-Degree Panorama: Packing Coffee Berries along Lake Atitlan in Guatemala
For those of you who might not know, coffee begins its life as a berry. The bean we know and love is inside. The berry skins get stripped away (we stayed in a hotel next to a place that did this and let me tell you, old coffee berry skins STINK!), to reveal a white bean that is then sundried and later roasted to yield the rich, dark beans we know and love.
We always find it heartening to attach a human face, a personal story to a product that is considered a commodity. So, next time you drink your morning cup of Joe, consider these friendly guys near the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and the work that they've done to help jump-start your morning.