Baristas to Work Coffee Farm in Puerto Rico in Unprecedented Event

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From Sarah:

When I was in Russia a few weeks ago, one of my most dear barista friends, Francesco Sanapo (reigning Italian Barista Champion, and 6th place finisher in the World Barista Championship), told me about an incredible project he has taken on: Barista & Farmer.

Essentially, a team of Italian baristas and roasters will enter into an intensive 8-day trip to Puerto Rico in November to work at the lovely Hacienda San Pedro, owned by Rebecca Atienza. The group will live the life—at least somewhat—of a farmer, rising at 5 a.m. each day to pick coffee for hours, and then they’ll spend the afternoons with agronomists, scientists, and other experts learning about coffee producing, from milling to biology to pesticides, and more.

The group will be followed around by a crew of cameramen who will film their every move for a reality TV show—we are so excited about this! Barista Magazine is the Media Partner for the event, and you can bet we’re going to keep you posted from the ground on all the goings-on along the way.

Below, Francesco writes about the project—we are so excited to introduce you to this groundbreaking forum. Stay tuned for lots more about Barista & Farmer in the coming months!

From Francesco:

It is with great pleasure that I present to you this extraordinary event, born from my greatest desire to spread culture and passion to all professionals of the sector of coffee in Italy.

Barista & Farmer is a format that, as you can easily tell from its name, will allow Italian baristas and roasters to live a true experience in a farm that produces coffee. The aim is to include the participants into a part of the chain of the world of coffee which is very often unknown, but according to me is fundamentally important in order to comprehend everything that is hidden behind a cup of coffee.

Everything started when I met Rebecca Atienza, the owner of the coffee farm HACIENDA SAN PEDRO, with whom I’ve started to develop this format. The project will be fully aimed for training selected professionals who will have to live as a farmer for 5 days: wake up at 5am, then brought by an agronomist into the plantation, where they will be guided and educated  to harvesting the fruit of coffee, which will be divided into different micro-areas/micro-lots, and subdivided for different botanical varieties. Then, they will go back down to the finca after a long morning spent in the plantation and the best one of them will be rewarded: the one who’ll have harvested the most cherries, but they will have to have reached the right level of ripeness! It’s educational, isn’t it?

After a meal prepared and offered by Atienza family, everyone goes back in time to the school desks, because every afternoon will be dedicated to Masters of education held by the Puerto Rican department of agriculture and by top level personalities. Issues of great importance will be treated, such as soil properties and their impact on the taste and the quality of the coffee, as well as the proper ripeness of the fruit, talking about the whole process of growth from the flowering to the harvesting, and lectures about the green coffee grading in order to be able to know all the defects of green coffee, plus lectures about roasting and the techniques for operating a roasting machine.

All of this will be constantly followed by a troupe of cameramen which will follow, step by step, every movement of the baristas from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep; also, there will often be mini-interviews to each one of the participants. All the video shooting will be broadcast on a YouTube channel which will serve as a diary to ensure this event becomes a proper reality show.

The event will give a huge amount of visibility to all sponsors both on social networks (Facebook and Twitter) and on the specialized press, because it will be followed by the main coffee magazines.  Last but not least, all the coffee harvested by our baristas will be put on the market and a part of the profit will be devolved to some charity associations which help the countries of origin for developing and supporting children’s education.

For the success of the event we need you too, anyone who could be interested in sponsoring the event can contact me directly by sending an email to: francesco.sanapo@gmail.com

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