We have bought coffee from Fernando Alfaro since beginning of our company, and in January, 2017 we finally were able to travel to El Salvador and meet him.
We spent a few nights in the home Fernando grew up, and toured his farm and wet mill... and high ropes course. His home is located just outside of a small called Ataco, which illicited an endless steam of "punny" comments from our owner Evan about all the things one can do inside of a taco ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
We learned very quickly what a cornerstone to this community Fernando is, and how much the people in the surrounding area rely on him. Many small producers bring their coffee cherries to El Carmen to be processed, even though they do not work for Fernando. He goes above and beyond to maintain lot identity by keeping their small harvests separate, allowing them to command a higher price point than if their coffee had been blended into the staple offering. Aside from being a laborious process, it is also selfless because those coffees go out with the branding of the producer.
We tasted some delicious coffees in the cupping lab that's onsite, with the quality control team that lives and works there; every time we think we take coffee seriously, we just remember the people like that in the countries we've visited. Coffee is truly their life! It is an honor to work alongside people like Fernando.