When I was 14 years old, my father passed away. My world was collapsed, but my mother’s even more. I didn’t know what life was like yet. But, my mother did. She was now facing the challenge of taking care on her own of her children and my father’s farm. However, she never gave up.
My mother and my sister had worked already on harvesting the coffee while my father was sick, while my oldest brother provided them money when he was in the U.S. to keep up with the expenses of the whole family, even though he had just moved to Boston, Massachusetts.
My brother left school and focused on working as hard as he could to start the process of bringing my mother to the U.S. and keep helping her out back home in Guatemala, right after my father passed away. My sister was supporting my mother at the farm, and little by little I got involved in it.
Moving to the U.S.
When I was 16 years old, I finally started getting more interested on coffee, and when I was 18 years old, I was already helping managing my mother’s farm as much as possible. Nonetheless, my mother had to move to the U.S. to be able to give me the residence and my sister stayed with me to take care of me while my mother was in the U.S.
Finally, when I was 20 years old, I got my residence and moved to the U.S. But before that, I was able to successfully start a business that later I sold, and with the money I got from that sale, I started my own coffee plantation after asking my mother for 2 acres of land.
Once in the U.S. I went to PCC to start studying English and bought 15 dollars good will bicycle that I fixed up to move around and started working on a fast food restaurant cooking hamburgers.
9 months later, I was able to start a job as a washer in an Optical Lab, and everything went up from there. Soon, I was able to buy a car and started driving for Lyft.
While driving for Lyft, I met a wonderful lady who, after hearing my story about my dream of distributing my coffee in the U.S. helped me to get in touch with a local roaster who later introduced me with a Guatemalan Roaster.
I was able to make a deal with the Guatemalan Roaster for almost 1,000 pounds of green beans. After three harvest working together, I partnered with other farmers and sold 50,000 pounds of green beans and we are heading to have even better sales for the upcoming harvest this year.
A dream come true
During the preparation for the 50,000 pounds of green beans deal, I met another passenger trough Lyft that after hearing my desire of opening a coffee shop in the future, he told me that there used to be a coffee shop at a building he owns, and if I was interested on checking it out.
We went to the building that same day in instead of going to his house to drop him off. And while being there I realized that there also was the equipment to open a cafe.
On May 15th, 2019 I opened “Cafe Zamora” looking forward to accomplish my father’s dream of selling high quality coffee directly to the final consumer and recognize his coworkers hard work with better salaries. And, be able to honor my mother hard work and all the support she provided me through all this time starting by naming the coffee shop with her last name “Zamora” and never forget as well, that I’m here because my siblings never left us alone along all this way.
The future of “Zamora”
After a year on business, and while dealing with a pandemic (COVID-19) the foundation of my business is getting stronger. Many challenges have come already, and surely, many more will come. However, in March 2020, when we closed our doors for 40 days, my thought was that my business, my dream, all the hard work was going to be over. Nonetheless, since then, the growth has been significant, and the purpose and the vision of what the coffee we serve can be for, has turned out to be more than what I originally imagined.
Now, while doing a stronger sales volume of coffee beans, and getting new wholesale accounts, the expansion of the coffee sales is the dream coming true of my way to improve my village’s reality. It will for sure be a lot of work, but it will be worth it.
The vision and the goal go beyond serving a direct trade. It goes with combining stable, and good prices with education and resilience. I’m convinced that teaching someone to fish is not enough, teaching “why” to fish is a must.
During the last 7 years I have learned more about the international coffee industry, the reality of coffee farmers, and also, two countries that are as different as they might think they are, for me, they are very similar; a lot of challenges, but a lot of beauty and endless possibilities of success.
Now that I have more connections, a better idea of where to go, and what to do. My goal is to break through this absurd and manipulative industry: middleman. And give space to a more transparent and real competitive industry of hard work and joy: the coffee farming.