Rosa Mireya Rubio started growing coffee 22 years ago. Well…in a way it started back then, but in a way it didn’t.
She was born and raised in the city. She moved to the rural area she now calls home, El Cairo, when she got married. Her husband had a coffee farm, El Limón, and of course she started to work on the farm with him.
But many women on coffee farms just stay in the kitchen. They cook for everyone on the farm, so there’s plenty of work in the kitchen. However, they don’t necessarily learn about coffee. She was one of those women that stayed in the kitchen.
Back then, she didn’t know about the business of growing coffee.
Loss and opportunity
But then her husband died. He died two years ago, and suddenly it was Rosa’s turn to grow coffee.
She had been helping out on the farm during harvest time, so she already knew how to pick coffee. But she didn’t know how to process it or dry it. Her husband was the one who did that, when he was alive.
Now she had to learn about coffee on her own.
However, it’s not easy to learn a whole business. The good thing is, she wasn’t alone.
The community and the coffee cooperative helped her, and she received advice and support. Her family also helped – her son-in-law knows about coffee, and he helped guide her.
That’s how she started her own coffee business. She’s been taking the lead on the family farm for two years now.
Rosa explains the challenge of farming: “In these rural areas, it’s hard to earn enough for the family. We grow avocados on the farm, but it can be difficult to find a buyer.”
Now Rosa and her family grow organic coffee on the farm. “We started using organic processes because my husband said it was good for the land. Organic coffee takes a lot more effort to grow, and we work long days. When it’s time to harvest the coffee, we work hard when it’s sunny…and even under the rain.”
Her family and her dreams
Rosa has three children and one granddaughter, and she’s happy that each of her children has their own plot of land for coffee. “It’s good for them to grow coffee, and it’s good for them to continue working the land.”
If she made more money from her coffee, Rosa is very specific about what she’d do with the increased income. “I’d like to invest in her farm, because I’d like to have more space to process coffee, and more coffee drying beds.”
They also dream of taking a trip together as a family. “Someday, we’d like to see the beach. My husband always wanted to travel, but the year we planned to travel, we couldn’t. I want us to enjoy being together while we can, because we don’t know what might happen in the future.”
When she joined the Caficultora 2.0 program, Rosa was told for the first time that her coffee was high quality and that she could get higher prices for it. Through the program, they guided her to cup her coffee to evaluate the quality. The first time she cupped her coffee in a professional setting, she realized it has an impressive aroma and good acidity.
To Rosa, her coffee has a particular taste. “My coffee tastes like happiness. Because I work hard to grow the coffee, and I do it with all my heart.”
Written by: Karen Attman - Latin American Coffee Academy