Coffee Transporting Challenge
The fifth and final challenge of the Seed to Cup tested the baristas’ physical strength and gave them some insight into the daily rigors that a coffee farmer faces.
The task: Transport 75 kilos of coffee in parchment from the small community of Belén to the village of Bella Florida. The collection station in Bella Florida is where many farmers from the area bring their dried coffee. It is graded for quality and then the farmers receive payment for their coffee. First team of baristas to arrive in Bella Florida with all their team members wins.
The twist: Coffee around Bella Florida is grown on extremely steep slopes - way too steep for cars to drive on. So farmers transport their coffee on the backs of mules. Each team of baristas was given one mule to help carry the coffee. However, they were only allowed to load the mule with two bags. The baristas had to carry the rest on their own backs. To win the challenge, the mule had to arrive with the team.
Dionicio shot a starter pistol to begin the race and the teams were off. Sapa Inca broke into a sprint, while Blackfoot adopted a slower, steady pace. The teams were not sure how far they would have to travel - it was a classic hare vs tortoise match-up! Some baristas came prepared with backpacks that they loaded up with the coffee to make it easier to carry.
The winners: In the end, Sapa Inca’s fierce discipline paid off. They hustled through the 5 kilometers, and they arrived first, sweaty and red-faced, in Bella Florida with their mule and all their coffee. In Bella Florida, the baristas received a lesson in quality grading by parchment screening from agronomist Francisco Tenorio from the Bagua Grande cooperative. They also made time to visit the community school and play with the local kids.
As the baristas began the walk back to Finca la Encañada, they saw two women carrying bags of coffee cherries on their backs - easily 30 kilos each. No mules. No backpacks. And they had just emerged from climbing up the steep hillside next to the road. It put their fast 5 km trek into perspective and gave them a little more insight into the coffee farmer’s life.