I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him bears much fruit for without me, you can do nothing. John 15:5
The first full day in Guatemala is always a siteseeing day. I always wondered why we cannot go right to work, but it is to allow our American bodies time to adjust to the climate and the altitude. While the rest of the group went zip lining, a few of us opted for the coffee plantation tour. When asked by some frightened fellow travelers about why I wasn’t doing it the zip line again, I assured them that they would be okay. “It is a once in a lifetime experience,” I stated. Once in a lifetime is more than enough for me! The tour of the coffee plantation was very interesting. Much more interesting than I thought it would be as a matter of fact. Since I am a non coffee drinker, I never really thought much about where coffee comes from. Our tour guide was a college student majoring in computer programming with an eye to working in the aviation industry. He was a great teacher and talked alot about the science and physics involved in producing coffee. We began in the nursery as he showed us the grafting process. Because of nematodes, their coffee plants which produce aravica beans are grafted onto robusto root stock. The robusto produces an acidic highly caffinated coffee normally, but has roots that are strong and will leave for fifty years. The aravica plants produce a sweeter, less caffinated bean which is highly desired around the world. But, they only live for five years. By combining the two plants, they have created a strong plant that will live longer and give them the flavor that they want. But, something interesting happens after about thirty years. The roots take over and the plant begins making the robusto bean instead of the aravica. So, growers must decide which plants to keep and which to pull out and and replant. From the nursery, we toured the plantation and then, went to the sorting and drying areas. Once a bean is picked, there is only a four hour window to begin its processing or the beans begin to ferment. The steps it takes to dry and roast a coffee bean are many and involve complicated equipment ranging from water sorting, hand picking and computer analysis. It is an amazing mix of primitive and modern methods. The roasting process is also complicated relying on computer programs and human taste testers. The finally product is a 100% aravica coffee grown in Guatemala and known around the world. Coffee drinkers should never take for granted the cup that they enjoy each day. There are many people who have a hand in making it. The main thing that impressed me was the fact that the roots eventually control the plant’s fruit. The same applies for us. We may look good on the surface and people may admire us for all we can do, but we are only pretending if our heart if not right. Eventually, the source of our good works and strength will fail unless we are rooted and grafted into the One Who will never fail. Who always loves and Who is all powerful.