Crispin Matias has produced coffee for 40 years in San Antonio Huista, Guatemala. Crispin is also the founder of ASIAST, a six-member cooperative of small-holder farmers, promoting his own local community.
“We couldn’t earn the revenue that we expected this season. Wages, material costs, and consumables’ prices are all going up. Things don’t look good overall.
We’ve faced various difficulties and adversities, like wage hikes, coffee rust, and climate change. Take climate, for instance. Nowadays, the change of seasons comes at different times from year to year. Sunlight has become stronger, too. We can feel the effects of climate change.
But every hurdle is not something that blocks our way, but a challenge to overcome so that we can create a better product. To deal with climate change, we try not to cut down too many trees to shield coffee trees against severe sunlight and even plant some more for shade. We take care of the farming environment more than we used to. Thanks to shading covers, we can dry green coffee slowly and produce more vivid coffees.
We do everything we can to make delicious coffees, such as using organic fertilizer, picking cherries precisely, and sorting out green coffees with care. When I’m not busy, I go check out seedlings to see if they have problems and figure out what I should do to improve quality.
I’ve overcome various difficulties and adversities. That’s why I can offer coffees appreciated by people around the world. Going forward, I want to get more local coffee producers and their families onboard. Helping the local community and coffee workers is the source of my motivation.”
Born and raised in Guatemala, Crispin, who has lived in the country all his life, has a long-held dream he has rarely revealed to anyone.
“I want to go overseas to see sights, experience different countries’ cultures, and learn about their history. I’ve never been abroad. For people like us whose daily life is limited to a small area, the world beyond is a world of the unknown.
I’ve held this wish ever since I met Japanese people as a child. Their sincerity left a lasting impression in my heart. I wanted to visit Japan to learn that spirit. But that dream didn’t come true. They lived in a completely different world from me, after all. So I decided it would be best to stay here.”
Several decades on, the world is a totally different place today thanks to the internet and other digital technologies like social media. Soon, the day will come when what was once the unknown world to Crispin will be within his reach.