Blending Experience with Passion in Mesoamerica

Blending Experience with Passion in Mesoamerica

   4 Minutes Read

Carlos Morales
Country Manager
Guatemala y El Salvador



I just love coffee, and I’m the type of person that without my morning coffee, my engine simply does not start. But I never considered all the work that it takes to make my early morning cup. To tell you a little bit about myself, I have a degree in International Business, with two certifications in Supply Chain Management. My career thus far has been with large companies like Steelcase Inc., Amazon, and Uber, and I have quite a bit of experience in establishing processes and building highly effective teams by focusing on continuous learning and improvement, all while maintaining high quality. Additionally, I have some family business experience from early in my career in the area of fruits and vegetables, but more on the commercialization side. Until recently, the extent of my coffee knowledge was that I liked it black and needed it to start my early mornings at work. After 100 days at Caravela, I know a good deal more, and want to share with you my journey.


Following a few bumpy years with their harvests in Guatemala and El Salvador, Caravela invited me to join them in October 2018. Thanks to an incredibly passionate and dedicated team, I’ve been able to quickly learn about the coffee business and get up to speed. I’m impressed by how we can add value and change so many lives just by sharing knowledge, following up diligently, and being present when and where things happen

My goal is to reconstruct and develop our foundations by adapting best practices that I have learned - starting with our internal processes- while simultaneously serving as liaison between customer and farmer, balancing the expectations of the former with needs of the latter. This will help us build trust and provide reliability throughout our supply chain. I have been focusing our efforts on what we care about the most: our principles, building close relationships (both on the ground and overseas), and facilitate farmer education to ensure sustainability in their processes and high quality in their coffees. Last but not least, working closely allows us to provide traceability throughout our supply chain.


As a daily coffee drinker, I’m no stranger to blends, but it’s been a new challenge to blend two different mindsets and needs I have realized are essential components of the coffee world. On one side, farmers are looking to achieve things through low costs and joint efforts with family and their community, and Caravela to surmount the obstacles that every new crop season brings with it. And from the other side, the rapidly evolving expectations of our end customers necessitate that our roasting partners adapt and request an almost made-to-order agricultural product.

Some of the things that we have been working on in the past few months:

Process

One of the first steps has been getting back to basics, ensuring all our processes are in place and working flawlessly. We also have implemented the proper tollgates and controls to avoid disruptions and maintain high standards. The openness of the team to share, to continue learning and their love for what they do has been integral to adapting to change and keeping up with the fast pace.


We have been able to focus on:

  • Documenting and implementing standard operating procedures
  • Implementing routines of communication and sharing among teams
  • Reviewing and fine-tuning policies
  • Changing from a qualitative focus to quantitative focus to be able to measure and understand our standards and impacts
  • Cultivating a proactive mindset and can-do attitude


  • Consolidation

    Secondly, we have closed our milling operation in El Salvador and strengthened our synergies in Guatemala with our partners to outsource our milling needs, so we can devote attention to ensuring high standards and quality throughout the complete process. This allows us to focus on what we do best: providing PECA support and building new relationships with producers. We have expanded our umbrella to include 122 farmers in Guatemala (271% growth) and 74 in El Salvador (255% growth); by channeling our resources, we have a greater presence on the ground and are echoing the need to develop sustainable coffee farms through effective care and management.



    Best Practices

    Third, we are experimenting and innovating with key farmers to better understand the specific needs, conditions, and best practices that will allow each area of our origins to get the most out of their coffees. Achieving higher quality helps producers to execute better and be sustainable. This wouldn’t be possible with the support of our internal partners at Finca Belgravia in Colombia, and our external partners at destination who work together with us to build relationships and strengthen origin operations.


    Some of the processes we have been focusing are:

    • Farm foundations
      • Soil analysis and diseases control
    • Farm management
      • Focus on the nursery to understand productivity and crop estimates
      • Effective processes from cherry selection to drying and storage.
    • Understanding best practices
      • Proper washing process and water quality
      • Infrastructure and maintenance

    Market Preferences

    Lastly, being able to work closely with the sales teams to understand and learn about each destination market in terms of trends, market profile preferences, and specific needs. This helps us assist farmers build closer relationships, focus on specific markets per their coffee profile, and even open their doors to new markets while innovating and experimenting.

    There’s still a long way to go, and much to work on, but we are confident that by focusing on the basics, working closely with producers, and continuing to strengthen those connections with customers to provide a full, sustainable cycle for long term relationships, we are addressing the keys to our success. I can’t wait to be able to make a consumer happy, whether they’re sitting down at a cafe near the magnificent Sydney Opera House, the Statue of Liberty, or even by London Bridge: tasting a Guatemalan coffee with notes of chocolate, caramel, a little nutty and with fruity tones but also well-balanced. This experience definitely takes more than just the five minutes of preparation in the coffee shop; we have to provide excellence at every step along the way from seedling to the roaster’s warehouse. We’re just getting started with improvements in El Salvador and Guatemala, and I invite you to join me on this journey.



       4 Minutes Read

    Carlos Morales
    Country Manager
    Guatemala y El Salvador



    I just love coffee, and I’m the type of person that without my morning coffee, my engine simply does not start. But I never considered all the work that it takes to make my early morning cup. To tell you a little bit about myself, I have a degree in International Business, with two certifications in Supply Chain Management. My career thus far has been with large companies like Steelcase Inc., Amazon, and Uber, and I have quite a bit of experience in establishing processes and building highly effective teams by focusing on continuous learning and improvement, all while maintaining high quality. Additionally, I have some family business experience from early in my career in the area of fruits and vegetables, but more on the commercialization side. Until recently, the extent of my coffee knowledge was that I liked it black and needed it to start my early mornings at work. After 100 days at Caravela, I know a good deal more, and want to share with you my journey.


    Following a few bumpy years with their harvests in Guatemala and El Salvador, Caravela invited me to join them in October 2018. Thanks to an incredibly passionate and dedicated team, I’ve been able to quickly learn about the coffee business and get up to speed. I’m impressed by how we can add value and change so many lives just by sharing knowledge, following up diligently, and being present when and where things happen

    My goal is to reconstruct and develop our foundations by adapting best practices that I have learned - starting with our internal processes- while simultaneously serving as liaison between customer and farmer, balancing the expectations of the former with needs of the latter. This will help us build trust and provide reliability throughout our supply chain. I have been focusing our efforts on what we care about the most: our principles, building close relationships (both on the ground and overseas), and facilitate farmer education to ensure sustainability in their processes and high quality in their coffees. Last but not least, working closely allows us to provide traceability throughout our supply chain.


    As a daily coffee drinker, I’m no stranger to blends, but it’s been a new challenge to blend two different mindsets and needs I have realized are essential components of the coffee world. On one side, farmers are looking to achieve things through low costs and joint efforts with family and their community, and Caravela to surmount the obstacles that every new crop season brings with it. And from the other side, the rapidly evolving expectations of our end customers necessitate that our roasting partners adapt and request an almost made-to-order agricultural product.

    Some of the things that we have been working on in the past few months:

    Process

    One of the first steps has been getting back to basics, ensuring all our processes are in place and working flawlessly. We also have implemented the proper tollgates and controls to avoid disruptions and maintain high standards. The openness of the team to share, to continue learning and their love for what they do has been integral to adapting to change and keeping up with the fast pace.


    We have been able to focus on:

  • Documenting and implementing standard operating procedures
  • Implementing routines of communication and sharing among teams
  • Reviewing and fine-tuning policies
  • Changing from a qualitative focus to quantitative focus to be able to measure and understand our standards and impacts
  • Cultivating a proactive mindset and can-do attitude


  • Consolidation

    Secondly, we have closed our milling operation in El Salvador and strengthened our synergies in Guatemala with our partners to outsource our milling needs, so we can devote attention to ensuring high standards and quality throughout the complete process. This allows us to focus on what we do best: providing PECA support and building new relationships with producers. We have expanded our umbrella to include 122 farmers in Guatemala (271% growth) and 74 in El Salvador (255% growth); by channeling our resources, we have a greater presence on the ground and are echoing the need to develop sustainable coffee farms through effective care and management.



    Best Practices

    Third, we are experimenting and innovating with key farmers to better understand the specific needs, conditions, and best practices that will allow each area of our origins to get the most out of their coffees. Achieving higher quality helps producers to execute better and be sustainable. This wouldn’t be possible with the support of our internal partners at Finca Belgravia in Colombia, and our external partners at destination who work together with us to build relationships and strengthen origin operations.


    Some of the processes we have been focusing are:

    • Farm foundations
      • Soil analysis and diseases control
    • Farm management
      • Focus on the nursery to understand productivity and crop estimates
      • Effective processes from cherry selection to drying and storage.
    • Understanding best practices
      • Proper washing process and water quality
      • Infrastructure and maintenance

    Market Preferences

    Lastly, being able to work closely with the sales teams to understand and learn about each destination market in terms of trends, market profile preferences, and specific needs. This helps us assist farmers build closer relationships, focus on specific markets per their coffee profile, and even open their doors to new markets while innovating and experimenting.

    There’s still a long way to go, and much to work on, but we are confident that by focusing on the basics, working closely with producers, and continuing to strengthen those connections with customers to provide a full, sustainable cycle for long term relationships, we are addressing the keys to our success. I can’t wait to be able to make a consumer happy, whether they’re sitting down at a cafe near the magnificent Sydney Opera House, the Statue of Liberty, or even by London Bridge: tasting a Guatemalan coffee with notes of chocolate, caramel, a little nutty and with fruity tones but also well-balanced. This experience definitely takes more than just the five minutes of preparation in the coffee shop; we have to provide excellence at every step along the way from seedling to the roaster’s warehouse. We’re just getting started with improvements in El Salvador and Guatemala, and I invite you to join me on this journey.



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