Last Month, Coffee Producers Rony & Roger Herrera and Francisco Javier from Nicaragua came to New York to visit Coffee Labs and see how their coffee is used when it arrives at its final destination. Oddly enough, it’s almost as hard for coffee producers to really know what happens on our end as it is for us to know what happens on theirs.
They were here in the U.S not only to visit us, but also to visit another roaster in Florida who uses their coffee, and to go visit other roasters in Portland to try to gain new business for themselves. Francisco is actually a self-started coffee importer, who after a brief time working for another company decided to strike out on his own, and he has been very successful in doing that. Seeing their coffee in a store for the first time, with their name on it, was a huge deal for them too. So much so that they actually went to Mrs. Green’s and took pictures!
It was the first time coming to New York for a few of these guys, and as hosts we got to play tourist with them which we don’t often get to do as New Yorkers. We took everyone to a Yankee Game, Times Square and many of the other touristy spots around the city and had a great time. One thing is for sure though; life on a coffee farm is a hell of a lot quieter than life in New York City so it was a bit of a culture shock for some of them!
One of the afternoons they were here they were all gracious
enough to come to the shop and give a presentation to us and to the community about what they do, and we had a pretty good turnout! Having almost the entire coffee production chain (producer, importer, roaster and final consumer) in a single room together was an incredibly rare occurrence, and we were very proud to be able to facilitate that.
All of us and some of the staff went out for a few (or not so few…) drinks after the presentation at Coffee Labs and we sat and talked and joked for a few hours, even though there was a language barrier between a few of us. That ties back into the whole facilitating relationships part of this trip. It’s not always just about the coffee. We do business with these people, but it’s also important in business to get to know the people you work with on a personal level. We were very glad to have them here, and we hope to see them again in the near future. Probably and hopefully on their turf in Nicaragua.