Meet the Grower: Maria Botto — RED ROCK ROASTERS
Here at Red Rock, we aim to be leaders in integrity and transparency.
So we thought—radical transparency would be letting our colleagues tell their own stories to our customers. What follows is an interview with Maria Elena Botto of Finca Nombre de Dios, Metapan, El Salvador, whom we met years ago at an IWCA conference, and whom we’ve traveled with in Mexico and Colombia. Maria is active in coffee growers' professional associations and has been involved in coffee restoration in El Salvador following the leaf rust (La Roya) epidemic. We are so excited to bring her meticulously produced coffee to our local community!
Pictured: Maria Elena Botto, third from right. Red Rock owner Nancy Langer, second from left.
RL: How did you start working in coffee?
MB: I started working in coffee in 2002, when our parents needed financial support and redirection of management strategy due to low prices in the commodity market. I am a fourth generation coffee producer and we, the women in the family, realized it was our responsibility to preserve the family legacy and in this way provide sustainability for many families around our farm.
RL: How did you get involved with the IWCA?
MB: My first contact with IWCA was when Karen Cebreros and Sunalini Menon visited El Salvador in 2008, and presented workshops on coffee. Board Members invited me to participate and I enjoyed learning about the forming of organizations in El Salvador. Watching the passion and devotion of all women volunteers in the Global IWCA caught my enthusiasm to be part of the IWCA Chapter El Salvador and now be volunteer of the Global IWCA Board.
RL: What is your favorite part about coffee?
MB: Difficult to say; every state of the process in coffee has its magic and invites one to go deeper into experimenting and research. I enjoy cupping coffees from different origins and meeting faces and lives behind them on the producing side as well as on the consuming side.
RL: What is the hardest part about coffee?
MB: Here is where we come to talk about climate change and uncontrollable variables, as diseases and global warming and crop losses; very difficult for producers as new routines have to be implemented.
RL: How has your business changed over the years?
MB: Our family business transitioned from a producing stage to a coffee supplier or trader. Our family team has learned additional processes in coffee to meet the coffee trends.
RL: What would you like roasters and consumers to know about your coffee?
MB: We are a family business and all members of our family are passionate of our work. And always eager to learn more on this wonderful cultivar that brings joy to many consumers around the globe.