“Coffee is all about relationships. It’s a language, that lets you connect with people all over the world. It’s about getting to know who buys, roasts, brews and drinks my coffee. One day, I hope to visit all the coffee shops that serve my coffee. I would love to spend a day at each one and get to know their customers. I would love to listen to their coffee stories and experiences.” – Anny Ruth Pimentel (Second Generation Farmer from Loma La Gloria Estate, El Salvador)
The Loma La Gloria Story:
The Finca Loma La Gloria’s (LLG) story begins in the late nineties when Anny’s Dad, a civil engineer bought the farm and named it after her Great-Grandfather’s fruit-farm. Compared to other Salvadoran coffee growers (who have been in the industry for four generations or more), Anny notes that her family is ‘new’ to the industry.
As a visionary, Anny’s father installed a coffee mill on the farm. When this was completed, the coffee crisis struck, and he decided to continue producing coffee cherries and sell them to local coffee millers, instead of running the coffee mill. As such, the coffee mill was abandoned.
In 2012, Anny started contributing to the operations of LLG. Her operational work let her build relationships with roasters; engage in direct trade, and restore the abandoned coffee mill. She stresses that such restoration was important because it ensured high quality processing and traceability.
So, what is an average day for you?
I don’t have an average day. That’s the cherry of the pie.
I have farm, mill, cupping, export, car, desk, and hostess days, and this needs to be balanced with rest, exercise and spending quality time with family and friends. As a listed example,
Farm days include walking around the farm and inspecting the coffee, and seeing how all the operations are going.
Mill days (pending on season), include inspecting the de-pulping process, drying, warehousing and dry milling.
Cupping days are my favourite. These involve cupping with Francisco (head of quality control) and making decisions on our coffee offerings.
Export days involve loading bags for export. I always inspect this process and take a picture with my beans before they head off.
Car days include errands, from going to the hardware store, buying fertilizer, going to the bank, paperwork and sending samples.
Desk days include logistics, reports and budgeting. While, hostess days are when I take visitors for a tour of the farm, the coffee mill and cup.
How does coffee milling work?
I don’t want to bore you with processing details. But it basically involves stripping the flesh off the coffee cherries and drying the beans. After they have dried, we put them in yute sacks, and store them in our warehouse to rest for at least one month. Then we take off flesh, classify them by weight, size and density. Then they are hand-sorted by approx. 15 women, who make sure you’ll get the nicest beans. Beans are bagged and exported.
The Loma La Gloria mill was previously abandoned, how did you get the mill up and running?
I didn’t think too much about it. I grabbed the bull by the horns and started running the mill. I wanted to have our own coffee mill so I could ensure quality, traceability and peace of mind. Though finding a good working team was crucial in the success of the process.
Could you outline what are some of the challenges you have faced from being ‘new’ in the coffee industry?
I have probably faced fewer challenges than an average coffee grower. Though, I’m not doing anything that hasn’t been done before. There are so many coffee growers/ millers that have been doing this for generations and have encountered challenges in a zero-internet era. They have had to move coffee on donkeys or horses and de-pulp on manual depulpers. There are still people who do that, and that’s really hard-work. I’m blessed in having my whole operation in a single site. I don’t need to move my cherries to a mill hours away and face the risk of robbery, fermentation time, etc.
I have been blessed in receiving the best education I could get. My dad is a hard-working and visionary man. What I’m trying to say, is that I have faced challenges but it’s all about taking everything step by step, being responsible for your own decisions and consequences, problem solving and learning during the process.
What does coffee mean to you?
Coffee is all about relationships. It’s a language, that lets you connect with people all over the world. It’s about getting to know who buys, roasts, brews and drinks my coffee. One day, I hope to visit all the coffee shops that serve my coffee. I would love to spend a day at each one and get to know their customers. I would love to listen to their coffee stories and experiences.
Coffee is my passion. I enjoy and love what I do. The best way I can describe it is; as men upgrade toy cars for real cars, I’ve upgraded to a Coffee Mill with a big garden (coffee plantation), instead of playing with Barbies and the Barbie mansion.
This post appeared in Perfect Daily Grind.