Happy Donkey
  • Visiting a coffee farm in Cuba

    Last week I was in Cuba and really enjoyed visiting a coffee farm (Finca Roja) in Viņales - Pinar del Rio.

    The farmer (Senor Roja - pictured) looks after 1100 Arabica plants, mainly Caturra, but also has Yellow Bourbon and Red Bourbon as well as a few Robusta plants as well.


    He walked us through the picking, processing, drying and sorting process. All his coffee gets sent to a local mill for depulping. Some is also roasted locally which his family uses in their restaurant nearby.







    We learned about the pests that attack the coffee trees (beetle infected cherry below), saw leaf rust (a widespread problem in central and south america), and learned about the cultivation and pruning processes too.


    All of this was discussed over a few cups of coffee brewed by the farmer in his house in the middle of the plantation.

    We also ate some of the fruit he grows (picked straight from the tree) and saw other insects native to the area such as the little red ants that have a painful bite.

    My Cuba album is here and contains photos from Havana, Viņales, Cienfuegos and Trinidad.
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. Mrboots2u's Avatar
      Mrboots2u -
      Welcome back !
    1. Glenn's Avatar
      Glenn -
      Thank you. It's much colder back here than in Cuba where we didn't really dip below 28c and had early 30's most days.
      Scattered showers and the odd thunderstorm livened things up a bit too.
      Our private guides were amazing and showed us the real Cuba - not the touristy parts.
    1. Spazbarista's Avatar
      Spazbarista -
      Cheers Glenn. I went there about 15 years ago. Went to Vinales too, which is heart of the tobacco growing area. I called in to a ranch and arranged with the farmer to take me out in the mountains the next day, in horseback. We spent a bit of time riding through coffee plantations and would pass by locals roasting up their own supplr in a frying pan on a fire.

      Is the food still terrible?
    1. Glenn's Avatar
      Glenn -
      The food is much improved. Not a gourmet foodies dream but certainly better than many developing countries.
      Locals still have rations. Tourists can afford to pay rates for imported products.
    1. Spazbarista's Avatar
      Spazbarista -
      I tended to eat in private houses where there wasn't such a dearth of decent ingredients such as fresh fish and vegetable. What amazed me was the total lack of seasoning.
    1. Phil104's Avatar
      Phil104 -
      Welcome back Glenn - and in time to see the All Backs fight their way into the final. Fantastic photos as ever… and presumably the brewed you drank was via that well used stove top.
    1. Glenn's Avatar
      Glenn -
      It sure was. The water was filtered through a large rock (out of shot).

      We tried it natural and sweetened like the locals prefer (coffee pre-mixed with cane sugar they also harvest).

      Natural tasted better but the sweetened version was interesting. No milk is needed (as it is still rationed and not readily available).
    1. hotmetal's Avatar
      hotmetal -
      Great pics Glenn. I just favourited (is that a word now?) the vintage taxi and the grower with his harvest. Sounds like a fantastic trip.
    1. Glenn's Avatar
      Glenn -

    1. Phil104's Avatar
      Phil104 -
      Puts our experiments with water and other Forum interests in brewing coffee into perspective although I can't see a Cuban influenced coffee shop opening in the UK anytime soon. That rooster looks like it owns the place - certainly very camera friendly.
    1. GroundwireCoffee's Avatar
      Interesting article, this looks like a great adventure!
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