Of all the possible skills I thought I might be able to learn while living in Guatemala, using an espresso machine never ranked very high. But that is where expectations could be deceiving.
Helen, another volunteer with Soluciones Comunitarias in Nebaj, brought a small espresso machine back from the States so that El Descanso, a small restaurant and favorite hangout place of gringos passing through town, could improve its coffee options (currently, they fill a big container of instant coffee).
What better way to get tourists to stay in Nebaj a little longer and put more money into the local economy than by offering quality coffee – there’s no shortage of it growing here.
That said, the majority of the highest quality coffee is sent directly for export. So, needless to say, the first three blends we’ve experimented with have come out less than ideal. But, we’re still hopeful to find something incredible and then teach the meseros in the restaurant how to make our favorite lattes, cappuccinos, and espressos.
So, even if the coffee we’ve made has been less than superb, Shreya (another volunteer, pictured) and I are already stellar espresso machine users. Ultra important life skills for the win.