About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard Bravo, a Kelly Peterson 46 sailboat with homeport in Seattle, Washington. We headed south in 2010, destined for Mexico and beyond. Cheers, Adam and Cindi

"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Gimme the half caf decaf..."

Still here at Marina Chiapas, enjoying our stay here as we explore the region.  A bit about the marina...as we last posted, the marina is brand new.  Still testing out systems (there was an electrical outage a couple of days ago, which was fixed with a new insulator at the substation).  The hospitality is fantastic, as these folks understand that the best P.R. is word of mouth, and everyone, led by Enrique and Guillermo, is working very hard to make us feel right at home.  And they're succeeding!!!  When anything, be it parts, services, supplies, fuel....you name it, is needed, they make it happen.  A great spot, in a unique part of Mexico not visited by many cruisers.  These investors had a dream, and they seem to be delivering the goods.

View toward the production area of the finca
Yesterday 4 boat crews took a trip up to a coffee plantation ("finca") in the mountains above Tapachoula in Chiapas.  We were picked up at 7am by Ullyses, the general manager of Finca Hamburgo, and driven up a steep, rutted road to the spectacular plantation at 4100' elevation.  Deep in the rainforest, (annual rainfall averages 4 meters/year), the vegetation was amazing.  As they said, if you spit out a tangerine seed, it will be growing within hours!!!  We passed mango, banana, coconut, teak, papaya, and orange trees, and of course coffee growing all around at Hamburgo or other of the several fincas in the area.

This particular finca has a boutique hotel w/ 9 rooms in 3 cabins, as well as an excellent restaurant on site.  We had a great breakfast before heading out on our all day tour of the finca with Ullyses.  (and oh, yeah, it included a bottomless cup o' fine Joe.)

We packed into a 4 wheel drive truck to tour the finca. 

Ullyses gave us a fantastic tour, following the coffee process from seedlings to harvest to processing, with the final product being green coffee beans.  The roasting is left up to their customers around the world.

Coffee flowers

Coffee "cherries".  Each contains two coffee "beans"

While in the world of coffee plantations this may not be huge, the amounts of coffee produced are still pretty impressive.  During the harvest season (October to February), over 1000 pickers, mostly from Guatemala, pick and process over 25,000 lbs per day.  That's a lot of espresso's!!!

Founded by German Arthur Edelmann 125 years ago, much of the equipment and processes have been in place for many years.  Electric motors driving large belts have been in continuous operation since 1926, and craftsman still fabricate furniture and machinery in the shops on site.  Adam especially enjoyed looking at the beautiful industrial "big iron" of these early years still in use today.

You don't see many marble switch panels anymore (not to mention those monster knife switches!!!  OSHA, turn your head!!!

Repairing furniture the way it's always been done.

If work benches could talk, this one had stories to tell....

Ullyses explained about the various species and qualities of the different coffees that Finca Hamburgo produces.

For their highest quality boutique coffee, the quality control is amazing.  These women cull out any misshapen or wrong color beans, after machines have taken the first shot.  And the beans just keep on coming.....  wonder what they dream about at night???

Finally we headed back up to the restaurant for a huge lunch before the 2 hour ride back to the boat.  All in all, a great excursion to a really beautiful place.  Thanks, Ullyses, for sharing your knowledge and hospitality.

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