Coffee farmers get paid by pounds of coffee they are able to manually collect; therefore they maximize their time and physical capacity in a sustainable way, not only so they may have a profitable day at work, but an enjoyable one, for they will repeat it the next day. The core values for the success of a coffee farmer are their incredible discipline, gratefulness, and commitment to the land. Their formula is quite simple and their success is based on their attitude and overall approach to life. Here is a basic guide on how to live by their example; not only so we may be productive professionals, but so we may be happy ones. 

The day starts between 3am and 4am. There is a local saying “A quien madruga, Dios ayuda.” (Meaning: God helps those who rise early.) It may sound extreme, but waking up at that time becomes routine and your body naturally adjusts to it. The farmers do not always live in the farms, but in towns nearby, so they may walk or take a bus to work, which is usually a literal hike, because coffee farms are mainly located in remote areas across the mountains. 

 

They work from dawn to dusk regardless of the weather conditions (unless truly unworkable or dangerous). But there are days when the farmers work with hats under the intense sun or ponchos through the rain. Their focus and sense of responsibility is based on the fact that they know they won’t recover a lost day of work, so the mindset is to make the best of every day of work. They often work alone, but there is a strong sense of community in the farm, as they depend on each other for resources.

Their diet is quite simple. It is often based on the fruits, vegetables, and meats produced by the farm. The carbohydrates are usually rice, potatoes, corn -no refined or processed goods. They don’t follow a particular diet other than keeping things simple and flavorful. The fact that they manage to eat well from the land, is crucial for their success, as the job is physically demanding and they must have the energy and strength to spend the day in the fields. Local farms share and trade the goods they produce, and if the farm is out of a certain product, then they simply live without it for a while. Due to the remote location, a run to the grocery store for some milk is unthinkable. This may sound very undesirable, but it results in forging a quite desirable character, as coffee farmers are always happy to make do with whatever they have in front of them. This act of daily gratitude defines everything coffee farmers do in a day. 

There is no better way to experience gratitude for your job than to do your best at it regardless of outside factors and the varying circumstances around it. For many coffee farmers, employment in the farm offers more than job security. The surrounding areas have a history of violence and armed conflicts between gangs, guerrilla forces, and paramilitary armies; for the farmers, the life in the farms offers a safe haven where they can earn a fair living through honorable work, and they take pride knowing that the beans they collect represent them and their country abroad, as coffee is always labeled by country and region. There’s no promotion to look forward to, as coffee farmers often keep their job for a lifetime, but they are ambitious, as they work hard towards perfecting their techniques, and increasing the quality, as their product will always represent them. They do so in an incredibly humble manner, as they are aware that their names may remain anonymous, but their home regions and the farms they represent earn all the renown.

This lifestyle has few distractions but many joys. Coffee farmers’ stress levels are low, even though their days revolve around long hours of very hard work. What matters is that at the end, their attitude and incredible work ethic towards the craft is represented in the coffee, and that’s their greatest pride.

It is through the little habits carried out with gratitude for the job, that the farmers manage to be so incredibly productive. Their work ethic is a result of the passion and pride they take in their craft, and the rest simply follows.


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