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Coffee Harvest Trips

We travel to each of our partner farms and help pick and process the coffee on annual harvest trips with volunteers. The purpose of these trips is to develop a deep understanding of coffee from the perspective of the farmers that grow it. To do this we immerse ourselves in local coffee culture by staying and working with our coffee farmer host families on their coffee farms. We have built friendships with our host farmers over many years of harvest visits and coffee buying. Our farmers greatly appreciate our visits and our purchases help them make important investments in their farms each year, and they enjoy the community that happens when we interact. They treat us as their extended family, which is quite an amazing honor that we hope we reflect back to them.

Each day of the trip we participate hands-on in the coffee lifestyle in many ways. We learn how coffee is grown in diverse agroforestry farms, especially how to harvest and process it. We see how coffee and other crops fit into the seasonal ecological and economic cycles of the area, and how important it is for the farmers to get a fair price for their coffee as it is the keystone of their farming systems. Besides picking coffee, we spend much our time is spent bringing delicious, local food to the table. In Mexico, we prepare tortillas almost daily, starting with soaking the maize overnight and wet milling it into masa early in the morning, then hand pressing and cooking them over a hot wood fire. In Kenya, we milk the family cow or goats for fresh milk to enjoy with the coffee, or pick some of the dozens of fruits that grow in the coffee farms like bananas, papayas, and passion fruit.

We have learned from the past several years that in a week of harvesting a person can pick about 1,000 pounds of fresh coffee berries. We will bring back some of the coffee we harvest and purchase from our farmers in our checked luggage. A group of 12 volunteers can harvest, purchase, and bring back 1,000 pounds of coffee, which is enough to make a big difference to the small-scale farmers that host us. Ask how you can join us on a trip!