Cuvee Coffee Sends Baristas to Guatemala

What happens when your co-workers vote for you? At Cuvee Coffee it means you end up in Guatemala.

If you could send one of your co-workers on an adventure in Antigua, who would it be? That's exactly what we asked all of the Baristas at our East Austin coffee bar. We asked them to cast their vote for the individuals that best represent the company. Individuals who go above and beyond in customer experience, who are consistently dependable, and who always have a great attitude. We asked them to vote for individuals who not only make great coffee drinks but also have a hunger for growth and new experiences.

“This was, by far, one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had,” said Deidre (Deets), who had never traveled outside the US. “It made me less terrified of new places and made me want to travel.... I'll never stop being thankful to my coworkers and bosses for helping make this happen.”

Deets and Miranda were the two baristas at Cuvee Coffee Bar selected by their coworkers. And like Deets, Miranda had a similar experience. “Being selected by my co-workers was surreal and validating. The team I work with is so amazing, and I have never felt more love and appreciation from coworkers.”

We wanted to send baristas to origin because experiencing coffee at origin is integral to what we do. As coffee roasters, one of our core responsibilities is regularly traveling to origin to foster mutually beneficial partnerships, but the transformative experiences we have while at origin do not always translate to the barista level. So we decided to send some baristas to meet with one of our farmer partners, Luis Pedro Zalaya (pictured with Mike McKim of Cuvee Coffee on a coffee plantation), and observe all aspects of coffee production at his processing mill, Bella Vista, located in Antigua, Guatemala.

Deets and Miranda spent a week in Antigua. Every day they worked the AM shift at Luis Pedro’s local coffee shop, Bella Vista (named after his coffee processing mill). And after their shift, the girls were free to explore the city. They spent time on coffee farms walking fields full of young coffee trees and they observed the meticulous task of processing ripe cherries. They also spent time drinking micheladas. Lots of micheladas. LOTS of micheladas.

“Neither of us know Spanish, so we ended up learning how to communicate through hand signals. It ended up with us laughing at ourselves A LOT. Good thing laughing means the same thing in every language.” - Deets

We chose Antigua because for the last seven years we’ve been buying coffee from Luis Pedro. His commitment to his community and craft are evident in the coffee he produces. Hunapu, the coffee we buy from Bella Vista, has had tremendous success since its debut as one of our core coffees. Luis Pedro is an amazing partner, and was integral in the planning and organizing for this this incredible opportunity.

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"I loved the idea of sending baristas to Antigua, because I remember my first trip to a coffee growing country," recalls Cuvee CEO Mike McKim. “The sights, smells and the appreciation for all the hard work that goes into producing exceptional coffee. It's a privilege to be able to share that experience with with two members of our team who earned it by working hard."

“My favorite part of the city was walking to work. I got to pick a different route everyday and see different ruins. The downtown was just beautiful.” - Miranda

At Cuvee, we love what we do. And similarly, we want to work with people who love what they do. That’s why we were proud to send Deets and Miranda to Antigua, because just like Luis Pedro at Bella Vista, they love what they do. “It’s cool to see where it all starts and how many hands are on the coffee before I even get to it,” said Deets. “Seeing how much goes into it has changed the way I view coffee for the better. It makes me even prouder of our products, my role, and the company I work for.”

“Working for Cuvee is like going to work with your best friends and family everyday. Cuvee has built us such an amazing shop for us to work and play in. I have learned so much about coffee and being a barista in the past year and a half and I’ve had fun doing it.”- Miranda

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> Coffee Is Communal