About “Behind the Beans”
Since cumpa was founded, we have met many exciting personalities from the coffee world and made friends. In “Behind the Beans” we want to introduce you to them and take a look behind the scenes together. For our second edition we interviewed our friend and partner Jimmy Rojas. At the beginning of February, he made the journey to us to get to know the European market for specialty coffee better.
What is your relationship with cumpa?
My relationship with cumpa is business related and above all friendly and trusting. I personally feel part of cumpa and it fills me with pride that I could first see the birth and now, after much work, see cumpa thriving and growing. The most beautiful thing of all is that they are not growing alone, but are carrying with them the growth of many families in coffee farming in Peru. This includes my family and friends.
Why did you end up in the coffee industry?
I did not start working in the coffee industry by myself. My grandparents and parents are also coffee farmers. So in a way, I was lucky enough to be born into the coffee industry. Even though it was difficult for me to recognize my good fortune during much of my childhood and adolescence. That’s why I wanted to escape from nature to the city with the false hope of finding a better life there. Thanks to the support of my father and the opportunities that the Aproeco cooperative gave me (I carry them in my heart), I was able to realize that coffee is my world. And that the place we come from is very important for the industry. That only this place makes the market work.
What do you like about the specialty coffee industry?
I like that the efforts that coffee farmers make in coffee production are appreciated by consumers. And I like that the young children of the coffee farmers realize that the market is not unfair to the farmers when they work with passion.
What do you want to achieve with coffee?
My goal is to educate myself as a professional, increase my network of contacts and generate better commercial conditions for producers.
What does (specialty) coffee mean to you?
Specialty coffees are those coffees that, in addition to excellent quality in the cup, are also traceable, thus protecting the weakest link in the chain: The producers!
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you in a coffee context?
The craziest thing that has happened to me, and that I would not replace with anything, is the honest gratitude in the eyes of the many producers. This experience that I am of use to someone, that my work is valued, and that this work helps the farmers to improve parts of their lives.
What coffee prejudice would you like to dispel?
It is possible that we as a human race will begin to live in the midst of pandemics, and that this will cause economic and social crises. This could lower the consumption of specialty coffee if people drink conventional coffees instead. All the research and development of the specialty coffee industry could be lost.
What coffee highlight are you most looking forward to right now?
I hope that the new generation of coffee lovers will value coffee farmers as a fundamental pillar for the existence of the industry.