Cinco de Junio 2013, Back from the Road
The Cinco de Junio cooperative in the state of Madriz, Nicaragua, couldn't be a nicer group of people to spend some time with, even in the face of some pretty tough times. My first introduction to them was alongside this years' Origin Field Lab (which you can read more about soon!). Then, after leaving the group in Managua, I headed back up into the mountains for another whirlwind few days with the producers and the community.

Our relationship with the cooperative dates back about seven years with Kim being the first to visit the group. We received a random sample through the non-profit, Fabretto Children's Foundation, that we now also partner with on community projects. Most notably, the group is prized for the microlot of a Maragojipe variety separation that they do that is simply delicious.

Prior to this trip, green has always been my favorite color – perhaps because I associate it with the natural world, perhaps because I always wished my eyes were just a little greener, who knows. This trip however, the number of times I heard “todos son verdes” and “no maduran” – “they are all green, they don't mature” made me reconsider my choice of colors. Due to the impact of leaf rust, which Tim just wrote a good deal about in his last trip report from El Salvador, Cinco de Junio estimates their total production to be down about 20-30%. However, this challenge has in now way stopped their attention to detail and commitment to the relationship with Counter Culture.

On this visit, I spent time in the cooperative offices, because as Clarissa the Secretary said - “The fact that you are just integrating yourself into the daily operations means that we aren’t putting on a show for you. This is very real, this is what we do every day.” Relationship building 101. And, I also spent time with Fredman Vasquez, our key contact with the cooperative who manages the marketing of the cooperative's coffee. He and I climbed into the hills of Tepesomoto La Patasta, the mountain range where Counter Culture's coffee comes from, to visit with producers.

This year we are looking forward to a small lot of soaked coffee for the second year in a row and the perennial favorite, the Maragojipe lot. More info on these can of course be found ahead.

With gratitude for the time spent with the cooperative and for Tim and Kim's faith in my first solo travel time,
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