Origin Stories

Field Report: Harvest During the Pandemic

Here in the United States, the pandemic dealt a painful blow to the specialty coffee industry with cafes shuttering across the nation in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, these same preventative measures have caused daily life to grind to a halt even in the most remote coffee-growing corners of the world, cutting off producers from the labor upon which they depend during harvest season, curbing vital transportation, and increasing production costs.

Because the coffee harvest season arrives at different times around the world, some producing countries were just finishing their harvests when the pandemic began to spread globally, while in other regions, the harvest was just getting underway. With travel bans in place and our usual origin trips cancelled, we’ve been checking in on our partners virtually to see how they’re adapting to these challenging circumstances. Here are some of their stories, which we’ll be sharing in several parts over the coming weeks.


Mariana Veloso

Part 1: Veloso Family, Brazil

Cerrado, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Harvest Time: May-July

The Veloso family supplies a key component of many of our year-round coffees. Anike Wolthers of Red Container Coffee visited the Veloso farms during harvest and reports back.

Read more: Part 1: Veloso Family, Brazil


Ejo Heza Coop members gatheredPart 2: Ejo Heza Cooperative, Rwanda

Mushubati, Rutsiro District, Rwanda

Harvest Time: April-May

Through Ruth Ann Church of Artisan Coffee Imports and Kopakama’s Quality Control Intern, Grace Izerwe, we present several interviews with Ejo Heza farmers.

Read more: Part 2: Ejo Heza Cooperative, Rwanda


Luis Alfredo GuarnizoPart 3: The Guarnizo Family, Colombia

Tarqui, Huila, Colombia

Harvest Time: April-July, October-December

For the producers of longtime customer favorite, La Familia Guarnizo, collaboration among the family’s nine siblings has been key to navigating the pandemic.

Read more: Part 3: The Guarnizo Family, Colombia


Sorting Coffee at the Kibingo Washing StationPart 4: Kibingo Washing Station, Burundi

Kayanza Province, Burundi

Harvest Time: April-May

Burundi’s delayed and scattered government response prompted private actors like Kibingo Washing Station operator Greenco to take matters into their own hands.

Read More: Part 4: Kibingo Washing Station, Burundi





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