Green Bean Coffee Imports received a very special delivery a couple of weeks ago. With much anticipation, the container of organic and fair trade certified coffee negotiated back in November finally ended its long journey from Bolivia.
Back in early January, I headed up to COAINE`s coffee processing plant in El Alto to observe the coffee being loaded. The truck arrived with typical Bolivian punctuality (7 hours late) and after much manoeuvring to park, the loading finally began. This was the height of the rainy season and several of the cooperative`s workers had been held up in Caranavi due to mudslides, leaving the team depleted. The container consisted of 260 bags at 60kg (132lbs) each. I noticed a distinct lack of dollies or other loading equipment and soon discovered why.
The loading of the coffee was an impressive show of teamwork. Five women, with their billowing cholita skirts and identical two long plaits, stood in a circle and together hoisted each bag onto the shoulders of one of five men, who in turn, strode along a narrow plank of wood into the truck, where another two men carefully stacked the sacks. The entire process took a couple of hours, after which many clinking crates of beer appeared.
From El Alto, the coffee travelled to Chile`s Port of Arica, set sail northwards to Montreal and finally arrived by train at its destination in Clandeboye, Manitoba, where it was unloaded (by an altogether different method) in sub-zero temperatures.
To sample this wonderful coffee, please visit Green Bean Coffee Imports. They boast a selection of roasts as well as green (non-roasted) beans for sale. Their website even has handy tips such as how to home-roast coffee beans. Who knew you could roast your own coffee in a popcorn maker?! Not I.
Green Bean also wholesale and deliver across Canada. If delivery is not your thing, don`t despair! If all goes to plan, this fair trade, organic Bolivian coffee will one day be available from a micro-roaster near you…