Soundbytes from When Coffee Speaks

“When I was twelve my family had come here [to Cedral] to pick coffee on a man’s farm. I dreamed—we came up here to pick coffee, and I could hear the cows and the calves and everything, because there used to be more dairies. And I dreamed of one day coming back, to be able to hear the cows, to come back here to live. I wanted to live here. I prayed to God that I could live here!

Otro Año Despues

Al finales de octubre 2013 yo auto publiqué 400 copias de “When Coffee Speaks,” (“Cuando el Café Habla”) como la culminación de un año de viajes investigatores, cuatro meses de traducir/transcribir/recopilar, y una exitosa campaña en Kickstarter. Tan pronto como los libros fueron imprimidos (literalmente salieron calientitos de la prensa), me devolví (con 68 kilos … Continue reading Otro Año Despues

Another Year Later

At the end of October 2013 I self published 400 copies of "When Coffee Speaks: Stories from and of Latin American Coffeepeople" as the culmination of a year of research travel, four months of nonstop translating/transcribing/compilation, and a successful Kickstarter campaign. As soon as the books were printed (literally hot off the press; freshly bound … Continue reading Another Year Later

The Aliveness of a Fleeting Century

I grew up in New Hampshire, and about the age (3rd grade) that I realized what New Hampshire was, and that there were places that were not New Hampshire, I wanted out. Everything around me seemed very unalive. Stoic granite. Frozen soil. Leafless trees naked for months on end. Small, quiet knots of people who … Continue reading The Aliveness of a Fleeting Century

Seriously Seed to Cup

“Seed to cup” is the coffee industry’s equivalent of “farm to table,” a much used phrase intended to describe one person’s (or company’s) involvement in the process of transforming coffee from plant to drink. It’s been a buzzphrase for a few years, and while it may have been edgy and evocative in its first days, … Continue reading Seriously Seed to Cup

You Can Feel Good About Potenciana Cafe

It’s Monday morning. It’s rainy and gray and dreary out. There are lots of coffees that claim to save the world, but really, we just want them to save Monday morning. Luckily, there are coffees that can do more than drag us through Mondays without attempting to take on the world. Sometimes, modest efforts at … Continue reading You Can Feel Good About Potenciana Cafe

Ground to Grounds: DC Day of Coffee Saturday March 15

“FROM GROUND TO GROUNDS” DAYLONG CELEBRATION OF COFFEE INCLUDES BUSBOYS & POETS NEW COFFEE LAUNCH, TASTING, PRESENTATIONS, AND BOOK SIGNING AT BUSBOYS AND POETS CAFE/BOOKSTORE, 5TH & K NW Saturday, MARCH 15, 2014 FREE and open to the public WASHINGTON, DC—Busboys & Poets will present “From Ground to Grounds” on Saturday, March 15, starting with a public … Continue reading Ground to Grounds: DC Day of Coffee Saturday March 15

Coffee in Hand

I traveled to Chennai in south India a few years ago, and I was not prepared for the fact that everyone there eats everything with their hands. It seemed to go against every manner I had been taught. “You mean you just touch all your food?” My hosts were gracious and offered me friendly Western … Continue reading Coffee in Hand


Again and again people in Costa Rica told me some version of the line, “We wouldn’t have coffee here without Nicaraguans. No one in Costa Rica wants to pick coffee. The next generation doesn’t want to be farmers; all the young people today get an education and get jobs in offices. No one wants to … Continue reading Prophecies

Rachel in Coffee Wonderland

Gonzalo Hernandez, proprietor and manager of Coffea Diversa Coffee Varietal Garden (aka Coffee Wonderland), doesn’t let a guest commence a tour of the varietals filling his land without first getting a history lesson. The varietals planted on the acres of Coffea Diversa include plants that range from tiny to gargantuan and some that look so … Continue reading Rachel in Coffee Wonderland