On our final day of shooting, we walked around Héctor Correa’s plantation while learning about how he harvests coffee. Correa’s strong brew has been one of my favorite parts of the trip, so I was glad I got to write about the day where he showed us where it was grown.
We had to leave the farm early on Monday because Jesus Alberto Mederos wanted to have us over to paint in the afternoon, so most of us just ate a passion fruit and/or a banana for breakfast.
Clara told us that people drink the juice out of the fruit and eat the seeds, so I thought I could stick a small straw from the juice box our tour guide Linette gave us and eat it that way. After 20 minutes of seeds getting stuck in the straw, I realized this would take forever and decided to eat it by using the straw as a spoon.
Once we got to the farm, Correa served us sweetened coffee from his thermos in ceramic shot glasses that he and his family made. While I still prefer his coffee black, it was still very good (especially since we did not get coffee before leaving the hotel).
He then took us to see his son’s farms. I was lugging a tripod around with Teyah’s camera bag and writing notes for this post while he explained it, so I might not have heard everything he said.
However, I heard most of it and it was fascinating to see the land Correa’s plans to build houses for his sons on in eight to ten years. As always, hearing about Correa’s passion for farming was great and I loved how he kept describing each field as a “miracle” and himself as “Jesus”.
When we got into the section where Correa grows his coffee plants, he not only gave us an explanation of why the fragile but more savory arabica beans make better coffee than the robusta beans, he also gave us some of our best interview footage.
Here, Correa explained that his coffee plantation started when he and one of his friends found a bunch of secret coffee plants sown in their yard.
This happened during a time when Cuban mountain coffee was not as legendary as it is today, but anything past that is information that can easily be found in our videos of him on our project’s site. It is a great story and explains a lot about why coffee is one of his favorite crops.
When we returned to the front of the farm, we filmed our final interview with Correa where he explained why his farm is called “Coincidental Farm”.
This is another great moment a blog post could not do justice, so visit Arte de la Finca’s website when it is online to hear the whole story.
We left shortly after lunch for Mederos’ studio. Lunch, as usual, was awesome and the squash mash Correa served was one of my favorite foods of the trip. However, I do not have any photos since I was too busy eating it.
Once we were at Mederos’ studio, we were quickly served bottled water and espresso. I loved the coffee (as I usually do) and by the end of the trip, people started calling me “Big Bean” for always drinking it black no matter how strong it was.
We then took turns painting a few strokes of the Cuban flag on a painting that Mederos wanted to give us and that was our day.
-Ethan McElvaney, UX Designer for Arte de la Finca