April 20, 2017

Women in Coffee

Women in Coffee Learn about Farming El Salvador and Tanzania

Women in Coffee QLD ended 2016 with Aida Batlle from El Salvador speaking about her innovative farming practices, along with the challenges she faces as a farmer in Central America.

Over a dozen different processing methods raised eyebrows, as did the stories about truckloads of squatters trying to take over her land. Aida is quite a coffee celebrity, being a fifth generation coffee farmer and the first person to win El Salvador’s inaugural Cup of Excellence in 2003. She was both entertaining and informative, and we were honoured to hear her stories.

Penny and Peter Wolff hosted the event, along with Kelsey Carr at their new roasting premises, Wolff Coffee Roasters, which also has a café and training centre. We enjoyed tasting three coffees from Aida’s farm, all processed differently.

We started 2017 with Celina Lazarus and Tony Strickett from First Crop in Melbourne talking about their recent trip to Tanzania. Just as entertaining and informative, Celina spoke about the plight of the farmers, the auction process and how they forge relationships with those they buy from. She spoke of one farmer being so grateful, he gave them a gift of a live chicken – a generous gift their translator advised they must accept.  So it rode with them all the way down Mt Kilimanjaro to the next destination, where they enjoyed a tasty chicken soup. Celina and Tony believe Tanzanian coffee is an unsung hero in the coffee world. All who attended would agree, having tasted Celina’s samples.

This event was hosted by Alana Beattie and mother-in-law Joanne, from Coffee Roasters Australia. We enjoyed a tour of their factory and pod packaging operation, that now uses pods made from biodegradable material. Questions flowed, as did the wine, and we all went away inspired to take a trip to Africa.

Written by Christine Cottrell

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