This week has proven to be the most demanding week yet from a project perspective. Between the three of us we had something like six interviews, three on-site visits and a presentation to Carl Cervone, TechnoServe’s coffee specialist based in Norwalk, CT. We’re gaining a much stronger understanding of bottle-necks along the coffee value chain and have an idea of some simple processes that can be implemented to increase efficiencies, especially at the farm level.

On Friday, through a long list of referrals, I was invited to visit a procurement plant in Lima of a London-based investment firm that specializes in coffee and cocoa. Marissa and I were picked up around 7:00am, chauffeured to the plant, and spent the morning learning about quality assurance, cup tasting, dry-milling, warehousing, and exporting. For the first time we got to see what happens after coffee is harvested but before it reaches ports across the world…truly an eye-opening experience.

This week I finished my 20 hours of Spanish tutoring. By the last class my tutor and I spent the full 120 minutes just having a conversation. With the help of Marissa and Victor my language confidence (while still relatively low!) has never been stronger. On Saturday, Victor and I did some exploring of the city and ended up having lunch for three hours (completely typical Saturday here) at La Mar, the infamous restaurateur Gaston’s cebicheria. The food was some of the best I’ve had in Peru!

On Sunday we went to a coffee fair in Barranco where we spoke with some small business owners from Villa Rica and sampled some of the best coffee we've had thus far. Tonight we fly to Tarapoto where we’ll be spending the next four weeks (with shorter trips to more remote farm areas mixed in during that time). I could not be more excited to spend a month in the Andes/ culture, climate, and people...I'm sure it will be very different from Lima! Hasta la proxima semana!

The Volunteer

Gino Gabbianelli

Internal Advisor Consultant, GWM – Internal Sales New York, New York

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