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Enoemia’s Story

Enoemia’s Story

Enoemia Mazariegos is a member of the cooperative ACODIHUE, in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. She lives in the community of Villa Linda in her parents’ house with her two sons. Being a single mom, Enoemia has had a difficult time getting ahead in life and providing for her two children — Alfonso and Keybar.. “A single mother carries a stigma in this society, limiting their opportunities.”

Through contact with Food 4 Farmers Enoemia gained a new opportunity. She was offered a position to help as a Food Security Coordinator. About being offered the position Enomeia said “I had a lot of doubts. I didn’t know if I could do it because I only went to primary school. The women in my community knew me, but I didn’t know how to teach them or if they were going to support me in this project. It also represented a lot of time from my part -sometimes I walk for hours to reach the families- and I didn’t know if the effort was going to be beneficial to me.” She continues, “In all honesty, I accepted because there was a small economic incentive, and I was in a lot of need. But as I started my training, I realized that I really like working with women and learning about producing our own food. 

I can’t remember the time in my community when we produced our own food. I think that is very interesting. Also, I feel that this project has made me confront my fears and show me how to be more responsible for my community.” 

Before becoming a Food Security Coordinator for Food 4 Farmers Enoemia’s only job opportunity was working in the family coffee plot. Because of this, she was considering taking her 13 year old son (now 14) out of school because they didn’t have the resources to keep him in school. Enoemia was disheartened about this because she couldn’t finish school herself and was hoping to provide better opportunities for her children. But thanks to the promoter’s compensation she receives, she is not afraid of that anymore. 

The Food Security Coordinator position also made her eligible for affordable housing through a housing program with ACODIHUE co-op and is in the process of finishing her new home where she will finally achieve her dream of being independent with her two sons. 

Finally, when asked how her diet has changed since the food security program started, “a lot!” she replied. “Now my children are eager to go to our home garden to see what is ready to eat, and there is a lot that we didn’t consume before because we were not used to, like lettuce, radishes, herbs, carrots and beets.” She continues, “now we can’t live without our organic garden. Also, through Food 4 Farmers trainings I have learned to cooked in different ways so my sons can have healthy meals.” 

Then she adds in her own words “Maybe the most important thing I learned is that I can, I am able, and I will get ahead with my children.” 

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Progress Report: Comepcafe, Colombia

Progress Report: Comepcafe, Colombia

A mother and daughter team at COMEPCAFE (above) share produce from their garden, including alchucha, a local fruit used raw in salads or cooked. A group of 17 community promoters are providing hands-on training with 288 families to revitalize interest in healthy, traditional foods that can lead to healthier diets. (See this article from Atlas Obscura for more on the Alchucha, otherwise known as the Achachairú.)

As they improve their home gardening techniques, families at COMEPCAFE are learning how to plan water usage and protect water sources.

Mapping local water sources is a first step to setting up irrigation systems for gardens and conserving this precious resource. As they improve their home gardening techniques, families at COMEPCAFE are also learning how to plan water usage and protect water sources. (The indigenous families of COMEPCAFE are part of Food 4 Farmers’ crowdfunding campaign with Grow Ahead to develop an agroforestry and food security project.)

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Blanca’s Journey to Motherhood

Blanca’s Journey to Motherhood – An Agros Story

In honor of mothers across the world, we want to share the story of Blanca Nubia, a young mother who, through the support of Agros, has risen above poverty into prosperity.

From Despair…

Blanca found out she was pregnant when COVID-19 hit. She and her husband, Yader, lived in a shack without running water or a basic latrine. Though they worked hard as day laborers, it was difficult to earn more than a few dollars a day and work was even more unpredictable. Fears and uncertainty about her living situation were worsened with the anxiety of her first pregnancy and the pandemic that threatened the life of her child, especially with no access to medical care.

…To Hope

We reached out to Agros supporters and asked them for help. The response was inspiring. Because of the generous support that poured in, not only did Blanca and Yader start receiving personal protective equipment and food, but they also were presented with their own home and land in the Agros village of Nueva San Jose. Blanca shares, “Before, we didn’t have a house, land, or medical attention. Agros has brought us closer to those services, and that makes me feel safe and self-assured.”

Blanca also began receiving special attention to make sure her pregnancy continued smoothly. A doctor visited Blanca for regular check-ups and provided her with prenatal vitamins and supplements.

In October last year, we asked Blanca about the assistance she had been receiving from Agros, “The doctor has been monitoring the advances in my pregnancy and refers me to the local health center,” she responded, “I am grateful for the doctor’s home visits. They give me confidence that my child will grow healthy and strong.”

In November of 2020, Brayan Estiben was born in a hospital – healthy and without any complications. “It was painful when I was giving birth,” Blanca reflects, “but when I had my baby in my arms, all of the pain went away. It is a marvelous experience to be a mother.”

Lasting Change

Brayan’s health is monitored as he continues to grow. Recently, his weight was checked by an Agros trained health brigadista (a volunteer medical worker) and she was happy to find the baby in good health. (The area surrounding Blanca and Yader’s village has an average childhood malnutrition rate of over 60%. Thanks to the overwhelming support of Agros donors, this issue is being addressed.) 

As Blanca makes her journey through motherhood, she will continue to have access to food, supplies, and medical assistance through Agros. 

Both she and Yader received farming training as well. Yader is cultivating his own crops, which will allow them to generate a sustainable income and reliable food source.  We are so grateful for you and all the Agros supporters who answered Blanca’s call for help. Today, she and her family are able to support themselves as they build a bright future together.

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Beekeeping in Maya Ixil, Guatemala

(Domingo Enoc Toma Lopez, a coffee farmer and beekeeper, models a Maya Ixil veil above.)

Beekeeping for families in Maya Ixil, Guatemala

Isabella de la Cruz Medina displays her certificate after completing her beekeeping training with Maya Ixil Cooperative. She is among 13 young people who have joined the cooperative’s beekeeping program and also works as a promoter. (Maya Ixil was recently featured in an NPR story on how communities are adapting to COVID19 and supporting families.)

Nineteen-year-old Isabella de la Cruz Medina first caught the “beekeeping bug” three years ago while helping her father, Maya Ixil’s beekeeping specialist and Food 4 Farmers’ beekeeping program coordinator. She’s now part of a group of young people trained and working as program promoters, while managing 10 hives of her own. Isabella is also studying to become an agricultural extension officer, and has set an ambitious goal of owning 60 bee hives.

(Isabella de la Cruz Medina (center) with her father, Domingo and Beatriz Ocampo of Food 4 Farmers.)

Beekeeping gear can be very expensive for beginning beekeepers, so Food 4 Farmers’ partner Maya Ixil in Guatemala has hired two young people to sew protective suits, and build racks and boxes for hives. This new venture not only employs young people who have few opportunities for employment in the community; it also makes beekeeping more accessible to coffee-farming families. Maya Ixil beekeepers can now buy necessary equipment for half of the market price and the two young people have ramped up their business. Every two months, they are able to produce and sell 20 jackets and veils, 10 overalls, 100 racks and 10 bee boxes, while also working as community promoters training new beekeepers.

Justo Perez Itzep

Justo’s family has struggled to recover since 2013 when coffee rust decimated their coffee production. Then in 2018 a landslide wiped out much of their farm. Justo’s father – a participant in the Food 4 Farmers beekeeping program – headed north to seek work to support the family. As the oldest child, Justo took over his father’s hives and now manages their small farm. He talks with his dad every week by phone, to get advice on managing the bees and the farm, where they now grow cardamom, coffee and food for the family. It’s been tough, but Justo is determined to make everything work while his dad is away. “When I took over the bees, we had just four hives and now I have 18. My dream is to eventually have 100 hives to help provide for my family,” he says.

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Save Yourself From Bad Coffee

Save Yourself From Bad Coffee

We asked you to tag a mom in your life who could use some good coffee. Your response was fantastic. As a result we have picked 5 winners. Congratulations to you guys!

And, remember, if you didn’t win you can still get your first bag free when you join the Coffee Lovers Club. If it’s not the best coffee you’ve ever tried simply email to cancel. We make it easy!

And when you join make sure to enter the friend who referred you. They get $20 towards their next shipment!

How The Free Pound Works

  • Just pay 99¢ shipping and handling.
  • If it’s not the best coffee you’ve ever tried simply email to cancel.
  • Next shipment auto-ships 3 weeks later.
  • You’re never charged for your first free pound.


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Why Is Some Coffee More Bitter Than Others?

Why Is Some Coffee More Bitter Than Others?

What could be worse than thinking you’ve bought the best coffee for home, pouring a big cup, bringing it up to your lips, taking the first sweet drink, and realizing it’s bitter.

A cup of coffee should burst with flavor, not be overpowered by bitterness. Why does coffee sometime end up bitter?

Should Coffee Actually Be Bitter?

It’s pretty interesting that coffee is so often thought of as bitter. Coffee should never taste bitter. Rather, coffee should have a variety of flavors, from spicy to floral to even hints of chocolate. In fact, there’s a whole flavor wheel dedicated to ways of describing great coffee. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of bitterness, and how to avoid them.

Let’s Look at The Technicalities: Does Brewing Make a Difference?

Coffee brewing is actually quite a science. One of the main reasons why coffee can seem bitter is due to over extraction. The process of extraction is where flavor is pulled out of the coffee, rendering clear water into that deliciously dark brew. When water mixes with the coffee grounds, there is a chemical reaction wherein the flavor compounds are dissolved. The trick is to extract the delicious flavor compounds without the overly acidic ones, which tend to overpower with more time and create bitterness.

Keeping this in mind, here are a few points that could be creating your bitter cup of coffee and that easily be avoided the next time you make a brew.

You’re Leaving the Coffee To Steep For Too Long

This point is particularly common when a French press is used to brew coffee, since a lot of people tend to leave the coffee in the press once they have pushed the plunger down. When the grounds are left in too long, the coffee continues to extract after the delicious flavors have already been extracted. This is easy to fix. If you really prefer to drink your coffee in a leisurely fashion, don’t leave it in the French press or brewer when it is done brewing. Immediately transfer it to a thermal carafe which will keep it hot.

You’re Not Using The Right Size Grind.

Grinding coffee beans can change how the compounds dissolve. This means that if the beans are too coarsely ground, you run the risk of under-extraction and this in turn leads to a flat-tasting coffee. However, if the beans are too finely ground, they become over-extracted and you’re left with bitter coffee. Different brewing methods tend to require different size grinds so sometimes you need to experiment a little to figure out that perfect sweet spot. However, if you are getting a bitter cup, chances are good your grounds have been too finely ground.

The Water’s Been Boiled Too Hot

Water temperature actually plays a big role in coffee brewing. Boil it too hot and you start extracting the bitter compounds. The ideal boiling temperature is 195 -205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction. Simply put, do not let your water over boil and remember to let it sit for a minute just before pouring over your coffee grounds.

The Equipment is Dirty

Bitterness doesn’t only occur from over extraction. Residue coffee that has been left over from the last time you brewed a batch can certainly affect the flavor of your future cups. So be sure to keep your brewing equipment squeaky clean.

Eliminate Bitter Coffee – Drink Better Coffee

What’s the best way to eliminate bitter coffee? Don’t settle for low quality coffee. Our coffee is shade-grown, meaning it naturally has less acidity which means a smoother, less bitter Cup of Joe. A focus on brewing will help too. Check out our brew guides to learn how to make better coffee with the coffee brewer of your choice. We’d suggest trying a Chemex brewer for the best results.

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2016 Coffee Trends – What’s Hot This Year?

What’s Trending This Year?

When it comes to our favorite morning, and often afternoon, beverage, we often find ourselves wondering what the next trend will be. Each season, coffee aficionados wait with bated breath to see what the new year brings.

Here are some of the major trends you’ll hear more about this year:

1. Nitro Coffee

This is when cold brew coffee is infused with nitrogen gas so it can be released through a pressurized valve with very small holes. A high pressure then forces the cold brew past a disc, creating a creamy, almost stout-like effect. Nitro coffee is smooth and clean. It even tastes silkier when you drink it. This exciting style of coffee is served straight from the tap and there’s no ice, which would ruin the Guinness-like effect. The whole process of the cascading of the coffee is simply beautiful, and the taste is incredible.

2. Waste Removal

When it comes to coffee production, this is a major buzz trend. When the cherry skin is removed during the harvesting process, coffee farmers use it to turn it into a coffee flour that can be used for baking. The green cherries that are removed at harvesting via mechanical means are roasted so consumers can now use the entire harvest.

3. Specialty Coffee

The quality of the coffee along with the increasing importance of specialty coffee are two coffee trends that are helping to shape the future. Whether you are an experienced coffee drinker or just getting into Organic Fairly Traded Coffee, there is a greater expectation for high-quality coffee beverages. What’s more, specialty coffee and even espresso-based beverages are gaining traction.

4. The Water

One of this year’s coffee trends has to do with water. This may sound a little odd but there has been much talk recently about what people are using to brew their coffee. In the near future, we will see the industry as a whole looking more closely at water and using the ingredient in different ways. We’re really not far off from coffee shops offering a coffee brewed with as many as three different water sources, or even water that measured several different levels of Total Dissolved Solids. After all, coffee is just 2% of the beverage with water making up the remainder 98%.

5. The Technology of Production

This year’s coffee trends are set to focus on the technology of producing coffee beverages. The chance to produce coffee drinks in an even more specific way as well as the calibration to the type of drink and even the customer’s specifications are going to see an increase in popularity.

6. Combination Beverages

A combination of tea and coffee beverages – that’s right, brewed tea and coffee together – is going to start growing in popularity. It’s already popular in Asia and other parts of the world.

7. Chicory

Coffee with chicory is set to see a comeback, particularly in cold brew varieties. Originally from New Orleans, this mixture was actually a necessity during the Civil War and was implemented to make coffee supplies last that much longer.

8. Baristas

The role baristas play is going to keep on expanding. Baristas have become more central to the entire beverage-making process, as opposed to simply being a server. They’re now considered more as mixologists.

9. Retention Programs

Programs at the origin where coffee is actually grown are going to be implemented to inspire next generation coffee farmers to stay close to the coffee sector and to keep driving quality.

Want Gourmet Coffee Online?

Take a look Camano Island Coffee’s selection of Organic Fairly Traded Coffee today.

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7 Interesting Facts about Coffee Grown Around the World

7 Interesting Facts about Coffee Growth Around the World

Coffee is a popular commodity in the United States. As a matter of fact, we spend $40 billion dollars on coffee each year. Have you ever wondered where the coffee comes from and why it matters? Coffee plants prefer warm, wet climates, and some of the tastiest coffee is grown at high altitudes. Let’s discover 7 interesting facts about coffee grown around the world.

1. The Coffee Plant Originated in Ethiopia

The province of Kaffa in Ethiopia is where the first coffee trees grew, and Kaffa is where coffee got its name. The coffee trees grew wild in the forest and natives were familiar with the fruit and often drank tea from the beans. Coffee still grows wild in Ethiopia, and it’s currently one of Africa’s largest coffee producers.

2. Coffee is the Seed of a Cherry

The coffee tree grows fruit referred to as a “cherry.” Coffee beans are actually the pit of that cherry. When the cherries are dark red, they’re ready to be harvested. The cherries are either picked by hand or by a machine, and then the pit or green coffee bean is separated from the fruit and dried before being shipped for roasting and selling.

3. Strong Coffee is Created During Brewing Not Roasting

Brazil has been the largest coffee exporter for the last 150 years. The coffee plant was brought from Ethiopia to Brazil in the 18th century. By the 19th century, Brazilian coffee was prevalent in both Europe and the United States, making coffee a bigger commodity than sugar for Brazil.

4. There are Only Two Commercially Cultivated Varieties of Coffee

Even though there are over 60 varieties of coffee, only two are commercially cultivated and sold around the world. The two types are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is better tasting, higher quality coffee. It’s the choice for most coffee establishments. Robusta beans are easier to grow and cheaper to buy, but they also have a higher content of caffeine giving the coffee a bitter taste.

5. The Sale of Coffee Supports 25 Million Farmers Worldwide

Most coffee farms are in underdeveloped countries, and 25 million farmers depend on income from the sale of their coffee crop. That’s why it’s important to buy fairly traded organic coffee. When you buy fairly traded coffee, you’re supporting fair wages for farmers, better working conditions, and a better life for their families and community. It also encourages environmentally-friendly farming practices. So, when you buy coffee online or from your favorite coffee shop, be sure to choose fairly traded varieties.

6. Higher Elevation Produces Harder Coffee Beans

Many coffee connoisseurs claim that coffee grown at higher altitudes is more complex and delicious. The truth is, coffee plants grown at a higher elevation produce harder coffee beans. Coffee grown in high altitude tends to mature slowly, developing more character, depth of flavor and a higher sugar concentration. This improves the flavor profile of the coffee bean. So maybe those experts are right about coffee from mountain regions.

7. Bees Like Coffee Too

It’s true! People aren’t the only coffee lovers. Honey bees are attracted to the flowers on coffee trees. When they feed on the nectar of the coffee flowers, they ingest small amounts of caffeine. The effect of caffeine on bees is similar to the effect on humans. It gives them an energy boost, improving concentration and performance.

This is one more important reason to choose organic coffee. Organic coffee is grown without the use of harmful pesticides, which can harm bees and other insects. Camano Island Coffee promises to offer the highest quality organic fairly traded coffee online. It’s our goal to change the world, one coffee cup at a time by protecting the planet and providing fair wages to coffee farmers.

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The Art of Roasting Coffee and Why It Matters

The Art of Roasting Coffee and Why it Matters

Taking raw green coffee beans and turning them into delectable roasted coffee is truly an art form. Different roasting techniques can have a big impact on your daily cup of Joe. The difference between mediocre coffee and amazing, knock-your-socks-off coffee comes from the quality of the bean used AND the roasting technique. At Camano Island Coffee, we treasure our coffee beans and use masterful roasting techniques we use to bring out the best in every bean.

What is a Coffee Bean?

Coffee beans start out as the pit of a cherry-type fruit. Once the pits (or beans) are removed, they’re dried before being exported. The milled pits are considered green coffee beans. Once the green coffee is exported, it’s ready to be roasted. Some people believe roasting is the most important step in coffee production.

The Roasting Process

The roasting process involves more than you might think. It can take years of training and practice to become an expert coffee roaster. At Camano Coffee, we use the highest quality organic fair-trade coffee. We also use precise roasting techniques to bring out the very best in every coffee bean. Coffee roasting machines are used to heat the green coffee beans between 370 and 540 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re heated anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour. The time and temperature determine the level of roast from light to dark.

Roast Levels

Most coffee drinkers have a preference when it comes to roast level. Whether you’re seeking a light or dark roasted coffee, most people have a favorite. So, what’s in a roast? Let’s discover what each roast level means for flavor, body and caffeine.

Many coffee drinkers assume dark roasted coffee has higher caffeine content, but it’s not true. Believe it or not, light roasted coffee is slightly higher in caffeine. It all boils down to the roasting techniques, which develop the different flavor profiles and caffeine levels of the coffee.

Light Roast

Light roasted coffee beans are light brown. They also display a lighter, more acidic flavor. Since the coffee from Camano Island Coffee Roasters is from trees grown in the shade, our light roasted coffee will exhibit less acidity than other brands. To obtain a light roast, the bean is heated until the “first crack” at about 375 – 400 degrees Fahrenheit. These beans do not have a shiny or oily appearance, which is developed when a bean is roasted longer releasing the oils. A lightly roasted bean will also offer more origin flavors, which come from the soil, weather conditions and other crops grown around the coffee plants.

Medium Roast

When compared to light roasted coffee beans, medium roasted coffee is slightly darker in appearance. The beans also exhibit a sweeter, more balanced flavor and less acidity. The caffeine level is slightly less than light roasted but higher than the dark roasted variety. This bean is created at temperatures between 410-430 degrees Fahrenheit, between the first and “second crack.” Some of the oils are released, but not enough to give the bean a shiny appearance.

Dark Roast

This level of roasting will give the coffee bean a shiny, oily appearance with a less acidic taste. Dark roasted coffee beans are heated to about 460 degrees Fahrenheit near the end of the “second crack.” The flavor may be slightly bitter or smoky from the roasting process. The roasty flavor tends to overwhelm the source flavor or flavor of origin of the coffee.

Choose the Best Brew

When searching for the best gourmet coffee online, be sure you know how the beans are being roasted. The roasting process is just as important as the way the coffee is grown. You can feel good knowing Camano Island Coffee Roasters are experts in their field, using only the best Organic Fair Trade Coffee and masterful roasting techniques to create the perfect cup of coffee every time.

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A Big Thank You From Jeff

A Big Thank You From Jeff

An update on our new referral program

You guys have been awesome! Last month we announced our new referral program and the response has been incredible.
We’ve had a bunch of new Coffee Lovers join the club.
Thanks to folks like you we’re able to spread the joy of delicious organic and shade grown coffee with your friends and family
And, more importantly, we’re helping our farmers around the world.

It’s never been easier!

  • Simply tell your friends and family about the Coffee Lovers Club.
  • We’ll give them $20 off their first shipment.
  • They simply write your first and last name in the referred by field.
  • After they join, we’ll give you a quick call to congratulate you on earning $20 towards your next shipment.
  • It’s that simple.

Learn more about our sharing tools


Why the Never Pay For Coffee program?

Over the years our company has grown by word of mouth. One of the challenges we encountered was tracking all of our referrals and making sure our members were recognized for sharing Camano Island Coffee with their friends and family.

As some of you know we set about the huge task of rebuilding our e-commerce system. This was a painful process. But, now that it’s complete we’re now able to track the referrals that you the Coffee Lovers Club member have been making all along. Essentially, we now get to reward you for doing what you’ve been doing — sharing.

What is the Never Pay For Coffee program?

For every friend you refer to the Coffee Lovers Club we will give you a $20 credit to use toward future club shipments.

And, we also give $20 off the first shipment of every friend you refer.

So basically, you’re friends will think you’re awesome for saving them money!

Thanks again for sharing Camano Island Coffee with your friends and family. Together we can save our friends from bad coffee and help coffee farmers around the world.   Thank you,
Jeff Ericson