Introducing Chapter One
“Final boarding call for Guatemala City, Guatemala.”
Ok, that was an exaggeration, I was early – very early – as usual.
It was barely dawn and my sleep was limited, but it didn’t matter. I boarded the plane, passport, coffee, and nervous jitters to boot. It was my second time that year flying to Guatemala City, and it wouldn’t be my last.
Let’s rewind for a second: five months earlier, over a steaming cup of pour over (naturally), I fully committed myself to the idea of Written Coffee – only then it went by the ever-so-affectionate, “X COFFEE COMPANY,” because names are important, and then, in its infancy, it didn’t quite have enough personality to warrant a name – not yet, at least.
Anyway, a hazy mist made its way over my San Francisco apartment as I ran myself deeper into a Google hole – you know when you find yourself so committed to a search that you click, click, and click some more until you arrive at a page so detailed, so perfect – only you have no idea how you arrived? That was me, casually stalking the owner of one farm I had to visit.
Back to present day, I’m sitting in a taxi driving through paved Antigua roads – a sure sign that you’ve left the city’s center. Dirt cakes my face as I hang out the window, snapping photos of the volcano – or is that a mountain – trying to keep my nerves in check. Armed guards and barely-there Spanish led us into Finca Bella Vista – beautiful view.
Sitting across from Luis Pedro Zelaya, Jr. was a dream come true, pinch-me-I’m-dreaming moment. Dare I quote: “not all heroes wear capes.” Luis Pedro’s family has been in the business for over 100 years, and yes, you guessed it, he was the focus of my “research” months before, although my mother was quick to admit to Luis Pedro that I had stalked him for a very, very long time – only the best for the first chapter of Written Coffee.
I could go into the details of that first meeting at the farm, but I think I would explode with a gushing excitement that may make you nauseous, so instead let me explain why Bella Vista had to be the first in what I hope to be an incredible, caffeine-fueled journey.
The Zelaya family is somewhat of a celebrity in the world of coffee, with Luis Pedro representing the fourth generation. To me, he’s iconic for constantly innovating and pushing Antiguan coffee toward what’s new and next. If you could visit the farm – and god, I wish you could – you’d see that Luis Pedro takes coffee as an art, separating his beans in bunk bed-like contraptions that allow him to divide by farm, microclimate, location, date harvested – the list goes on. Everything is organized to bring you distinct flavor and incredible coffees. The farm, wet mill, and dry mill – that truly features a “beautiful view” – is committed to maintaining excellent quality coffee through ecologically stable and environmentally-friendly methods.
As the sun began to retreat behind the mountain (confirmed: not a volcano) we arrived for our second day at the farm: cupping to choose the absolute best coffee for Chapter One. Through a survey a few months before, you helped me decide which taste profile to choose – see, you are helping me write this story!
After an intense few hours of sniffing, slurping, and quite literally sobbing in my hotel room (was I in over my head?) we decided on #11, a coffee that features a smooth caramel flavor, brown sugar, dark chocolate, and a creamy, balanced vanilla. Sounds pretty delicious, right?
I hope you enjoy Chapter One – Written's debut bean – as much as I do. It’s been a long time coming, with an immense amount of learning along the way, and I hope this is only the beginning. I hope that you will come along on this journey, to help us create what you want to drink, so that you can enjoy life’s sweetest moments over Written Coffee.
Written is a nod to the life that happens over coffee:
Enjoy it with friends.
on rainy mornings.
before a busy day.
while crafting your debut novel.
over a good book.
on the go.
from sandy beaches to soaring skyscrapers.
with passport in hand.