Dylan Baddour is a freelance journalist covering South America who is now stuck in Cajamarca, Peru, because of the coronavirus outbreak.
It was time to give up our adventure and head home to Texas. Every village in the Peruvian highlands was buzzing with talk of the spreading coronavirus. South American countries were starting to close their borders. So my partner, Pu Ying Huang, and I headed out of the Peruvian countryside and into the small city of Cajamarca, where we hoped to quickly find a flight home. But when we got there at night on March 16, it was too late. Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra had just declared a total quarantine for 15 days, halting all air and land transportation, even taxis.
With fewer than 150 cases of coronavirus identified at the time, the Andean country was immediately going into lockdown to stem the spread of the virus. (As of Tuesday, Peru — with about 32 million people — has identified 395 infection cases and five deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.) Coronavirus Live Updates Suddenly, we were among the thousands of Americans stuck in Peru.
Here’s a few more to start your week:
Here’s a few more. These are from the waterfalls at Ahuashiyacu near Tarapoto. Enjoy!
The coffee industry is begging President Trump to keep imports of instant, roasted, and decaffeinated coffees out of the trade fight with the European Union over airline subsidies, warning that hundreds of companies could close if he fails to intervene.
Coffee companies want the tariffs waived, saying that imports of those coffee products from the EU could nearly double in price under the White House’s proposed retaliatory tariffs, a serious blow to the domestic industry, which employs 1.7 million Americans.
“Several coffee brands such as Illy and Lavazza are dependent on imports from Italy for their U.S. business,” National Coffee Association president Bill Murray told U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner. “These companies distribute premium Italian-roasted coffee nationally across the United States.” He warned that a 100% tariff would force “hundreds of small businesses” dependent on these imports to shut down.
May be an opportunity for someone to get into the instant coffee business here in the US. Meanwhile, since we import from Peru, so worries yet…
Best wishes to all for a Happy New Year 2020! Drink more coffee!
Classics from Museo Larco. have a great weekend!
Greetings to all & the very best wishes for Christmas 2019. May all of us have a blessed 2020!
Ben & Yrma
Cloud forests are thick, high-elevation patches of mossy forest watered by the near-constant presence of fog and low-hanging clouds. These niche habitats are often thought of and described as pristine, but new research suggests cloud forests in the Peruvian Andes were cleared by native Andean farmers some 1,200 years ago.
Today, cloud forests serve as a sanctuary for species chased to higher elevations by rising global temperatures and extreme weather. However, cloud forests themselves — and the important ecological role they play — are increasingly threatened by climate change. According to new research, Peru’s cloud forests have faced threats from climate change and human activity before.
To trace the history of human activity in and around the cloud forests that surround Peru’s Lake of the Condors, scientists collected sediment cores from the bottom of the lake. By measuring the changing concentrations of fossil pollen, charcoal and algae, as well as shifts in sediment chemistry, researchers were able to reconstruct the history of land-use in the region. Scientists knew that native populations had occupied the forests surrounding the Lake of the Condors, as archaeologists have found more than 200 Incan and pre-Incan mummies entombed in the cliffs above the lake. The latest analysis, published this week in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, showed the region also hosted high-elevation farming. When scientists compared their sediment data with ancient climate patterns, they found a series of long-lasting droughts called megadroughts coincided with increases in cloud forest deforestation.
LIMA (Reuters) – Peru and Washington are in the final stages of talks on a deal to promote American investments in the South American country as part of a U.S. initiative to counter Chinese influence in the region, a Peruvian diplomat told Reuters.
The United States launched its “Growth in the Americas” initiative in 2018 to bolster private-sector investments in energy and infrastructure in Latin America after China invited countries in the region to join its global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
So far, the United States has signed memorandums of understanding within the Growth in the Americas framework with Argentina, Chile, Jamaica and Panama. Chile, Jamaica, Panama and Peru have also signed MOUs with China to join the BRI. “The Trump administration is interested in balancing Chinese influence in the region a bit,” Cecilia Galarreta, the director of North American affairs in Peru’s foreign ministry, told Reuters on the sidelines of an event on Thursday.
More pics from the recent trip…Enjoy!
November 2019 marked the first time in the last 12 months when the International Coffee Organization (ICO) Composite Indicator consistently stayed over 100 US cents per pound.The monthly average of the indicator rose 10.1 per cent to 107.23 US cents per pound amid expectations of a global deficit in coffee year 2019/20, estimated at 502,000 bags.
The daily price of the ICO composite rose from 102.74 US cents per pound at the beginning of November to a high of 111.86 US cents per pound on 25 November, before closing the month at 111.77 US cents per pound.
Prices for all group indicators rose in November 2019. Brazilian Naturals saw the largest increase, of 12.1 per cent to 109.94 US cents per pound. The ICO says this in part reflects the biennial decline in the production of Brazilian Arabica as well as the weakness of the Brazilian currency.
Other Milds rose 11 per cent to 140.98 US cents per pound, while Colombian Milds rose 10.6 per cent to 146.12 US cents per pound. The differential between Colombian Milds and Other Milds continued its ascent in November 2019, rising 0.8 per cent to 5.14 US cents per pound. Prices for Robustas increased 6.8 per cent month-on-month to 73.28 US cents per pound.
Best wishes to you and yours. Happy Thanksgiving!
Here’s a few pics to tantalize until work & family stuff allows more time for writing…
It’s finally the trip! We left Las Vegas Tuesday on the 1:30 am red-eye flight to Panama. It’s not much for getting restful sleep, but it’s less than 12 hours, so quick. The airport isn’t very busy at that hour, so things move along fairly well, and Las Vegas may be the most efficient airport in the world anyway.
We arrived in Lima, and spent the afternoon resting until our group arrived at 11:45 pm. After meeting them, we all headed for bed.
On Wednesday, we flew to Cuzco on separate flights, and then connected in front of the airport. We then jumped into our rented van, and headed for Urubamba, where we would spend the next two nights at the Tierra Viva Lodge, a rather nice spot outside of the city, and very quiet and peaceful. Surrounded by the steep mountains above, it’s truly breathtaking.
We ate both nights at the restaurant, and the food was just marvelous. (To be continued…)
It’s a busy time as we get ready for our trip next month back to Machu Picchu. Can’t wait! Meanwhile our workload has exceeded our capacity to maintain let alone get ready, so posts may be a little sporadic for the next several weeks…
Here’s a classic…
So, you love sipping on a delicious espresso, latte, or flat white at your favorite coffee shop, but wish you could have that same great coffee at home. Well then, this article is for you! Kim Ossenblok and Danilo Lodi are both coffee ambassadors at the Italian espresso machine manufacturer Dalla Corte.
They agreed to share with me their advice for brewing barista-quality espresso at home. Preparing good espresso doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think. With the correct equipment and a little bit of know-how, you’ll soon be pulling great shots in the comfort of your own kitchen.
We’re back this week, after a death in the family. It was my father who was robbed of life some years ago, slipping into that silent death, dementia. On the bright side, my mother is talking about travel and doing things again, so it’s a rebirth of sorts all at the same time.
Life and death are parts of the natural order. I’m at the age where one reflects on their life, especially as one hears of friends diagnosed with cancer, or passing in an instant. It’s amazing to me that we can marvel and still reach back in time and other lives through preserved works like those found at the Museo Larco in Lima. Truly a treasure of delights…
Happy Labor day to all, may you and yours have a happy, safe, and blessed weekend.
Well, it’s just weeks away to our trip to Machu Picchu and our first time playing tour guide. We have all of our plans, tickets, and reservations, now we just have to go!
Another look back at the Basilica in Arequipa, Peru:
Yikes, Monday already. Here’s the pause that refreshes, Machu Picchu:
With increasing use of mechanization and other new technologies, the world’s top two coffee producers, Brazil and Vietnam, are achieving productivity growth that outstrips rivals in places such as Colombia, Central America and Africa.They are set to tighten their grip.
A plunge in global coffee prices in recent months, to their lowest levels in 13 years, has begun to trigger a massive shake-out in the market in which only the most efficient producers will thrive, according to coffee traders and analysts.Rival producers elsewhere in the world are increasingly likely to be driven to the margins, unable to make money from a crop they have grown for generations. Some are already turning to alternative crops while others are abandoning their farms completely.Such shifts are almost irreversible for perennial crops like coffee, as the decision to abandon or cut down trees can hit production for several years.
“Brazil and Vietnam have had consistent increases in productivity, other countries have not,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, citing advances in mechanization, selective crop breeding techniques and irrigation technology.
In Colombia and Central America, coffee is typically grown on hillsides where mechanization is more difficult, and hand-picking cherries has kept production costs relatively high. The African sector, meanwhile, is dominated by small-scale farmers often unable to raise the capital needed for new techniques.
No real post today, have to run up to Vegas. Family stuff… back soon.
For a lot of people, the thought of summer squash brings to mind just a few varieties. The entire list probably consists of little yellow crooknecks and zucchini, with no more than one or two choices of each.
There is a bonanza of summer squash taste available to home gardeners. If you like squash even a tiny bit, you will want to grow your own. Fresh summer squash in your backyard provides daily fresh young produce throughout the season, the ability to eliminate food miles, and the opportunity to try dozens of unique varieties that are not available at stores or even farmer’s markets.
US Army researchers have developed an online tool that suggests how much coffee you should really drink to stay awake. The algorithm is not only meant to help you become more aware of how much caffeine you’re drinking but can also help reduce your coffee consumption.
For the study, which was published in the trade magazine “Sleep”, participants underwent several sleep deprivation and shift work scenarios. Researchers observed how their lack of sleep affected alertness and performance and how much caffeine influenced this.
In some cases, study participants had to stay awake for up to 60 hours and their regular sleeping time was severely shortened. The research team then developed the Open Access tool 2B-Alert Web 2.0 based on these results.
Have a great week…
Out of town today, late posting.
It’s been a busy time, besides all of our coffee business, we now have our Airbnb in Tarapoto, Peru (link here.) As if that wasn’t enough, our old land business has awakened again after sleeping for years here in lovely Yucca, Arizona in the northwest County of Mohave. (Link here.)
We work long hours, but it allows us to live in a beautiful place. Multi-tasking is good, but tiring.
We were able to sneak back briefly to Peru earlier in the month. We want to have everything ready for our trip in the fall. It will be our first time playing “tour guide.” We’ll be stopping by to see the incredible ceramic works shown below.
Here’s a few more of the many delights at Museo Larco in Lima, Peru.
In Peru, over 4,500 patients were treated and over 100 surgeries were performed aboard the ship. “This morning the mission ended with expected success, having seen a great number of patients and provided medical services to the community in general,” said Vice Adm. Manuel Váscones, chief of staff of the Peruvian Navy on Sunday, at a ceremony to end the visit. “The commitment of cooperation that the governments of the United States and Peru have undertaken only reaffirms the solid bilateral relations that allow the execution of humanitarian efforts like this mission.”
The ship is a non-combatant hospital vessel typically staffed by officers of the Navy’s Medical Corps, Dental Corps, Medical Service Corps, Nurse Corps and Chaplain Corps, and enlisted Hospital Corpsman personnel.
Sensory Forum, Nantou City, Taiwan July 18-19th Link here.
Malaysia Coffee Fest, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia July 25-28th Link here.
Latin America Coffee Summit, Mexico City, Mexico August 1-3 Link here.
Cold Brew Fest, Vancouver, WA, August 3 Link here.
Coffee Fest LA, Los Angeles, CA August 25-27th Link here.
Yet another Monday. While Arizona is sweltering under summer heat, we managed to sneak away for a few days to check up on things in Tarapoto, in the Cloud Forest of Peru. We have an Airbnb there, and it’s always good to keep a watchful eye. We’ve also noticed that we can get work done when we’re there, but the moment we leave, it seems like everyone forgets about us & nothing more happens. In case you’re curious, here’s a link.
Today is the hard travel day home. We’re now ready for our trip in the fall though. In addition to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, we’re going to spend some time in Tarapoto again as well as explore some famous sites in Lima. It will be the very first time that we’re hosting any acquaintances, so we want everything to be as perfect as we can make it.
Here’s today’s Machu Picchu view… Enjoy!
Brazil’s city of Campinas, in the southeast state of Sao Paulo, will host the 2nd World Coffee Producers Forum on July 10-11. The first edition was held in 2017 in Medellin, Colombia. Organizers of the global conference say the main objective this year is to look at ways to improve the economic sustainability of producers. “In Medellin, the target was to find a way to mobilize producers, to have a coordinated forum to discuss our issues,” said Vanusia Nogueira, one of the organizers. “Prices only fell from there on, so now we need to discuss alternatives to improve income for farmers,” she said. Coffee prices in New York reached a 12-year low in May at 86 cents per pound. They recovered slightly recently, mostly due to expectations for a harsh winter in Brazil, but are still at around 110 cents per pound, a level seen by many producers as unsustainable.
The months are flying by, and we’re so looking forward to our trip to Machu Picchu in the Fall.
Meanwhile, we can only dream…
According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, drinking 1 to 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day can reduce the risk of melanoma by 25 percent. The benefits were seen only with caffeinated coffee not decaf.
Monday, Monday can’t trust that day…
Machu Picchu is still there though…
Our trip to Machu Picchu in the Fall is already booked. Now we’re just counting the days…
Have a great weekend everyone!
Another busy week here at the ranch, but we’re loving it. This Spring has been lovely this year, and we’ve had some hot days, but mostly it’s been especially nice this year.
Have a great weekend!
We awoke today to the news of another strong earthquake in Peru. Natalia emailed us from Tarapoto, and said that the power had gone out, but everything appears to be OK.
Peruvian authorities were scrambling to assess the damage after an earthquake with a magnitude as high as 8.0 rocked the Peruvian Amazon region in the early hours of Sunday morning, leaving at least one person dead.
Meanwhile in Yurimaguas, there was some damage. The old adobe structures don’t do well in the big quakes as this photo via El Comercio shows:
We’ve been to Yurimaguas several times as it’s a great place to catch a cargo boat to Iquitos. It’s a growing port city in the Amazon river network.
Our prayers and best wishes go out to all affected.
Here’s some more goodies from Museo Larco in Lima, Peru:
It was an exciting weekend, as we finally met with our friends to arrange for our Machu Picchu trip later this year.
There will be six of us going, so there are the many logistical concerns, and timing and coordination is critical. Luckily, our friend Pen was a former travel agent full time, and can not only organize it much better than I; she also finds good little discounts. Sometimes it means the difference between a so-so hotel, and something much more comfortable for just a few dollars more.
We stole an itinerary from someone else (here,) and adapted it to what we already know. It’s not that we’re experts or anything, but really there are only so many places that you can go to in the Sacred Valley. It ends up being 15 days start to finish, and gets a pretty darn good sampling of Peru.
DAY 1: SACRED VALLEY (CCOCHAHUASI & PISAC)
DAY 2: SACRED VALLEY (MARAS, MORAY, & OLLANTAYTAMBO)
DAY 3: MACHU PICCHU
DAY 4: CUSCO
DAY 5: CUSCO RUINS (SACSAYHUAMAN & PUKA PUKARA)
DAY 6: LAKE TITICACA TRAIN
DAY 7: LAKE TITICACA
DAY 8: PUNO –> LIMA
DAY 9: LIMA
The extra time will be spent in Tarapoto & extra explorations around Lima. I’d be excited, but my head hurts from all the planning work… It sure will be worth it though!
Sweet! It looks like we need to get our drinking going! A study from the University Of California-Irvine has revealed that consuming a moderate amount of alcohol and coffee on a daily basis is linked to living a longer life! Yes, you read that right. No jokes, no typos, this is definitely good news for all of us who are addicted to our morning cup of joe. Obviously, the key word here is “moderate”. We don’t want to you go out and drink 8 beers and 4 shots of espresso daily, because well, that would pretty bad. The study called “The 90+ Study”, started in 2003 and examined “the oldest-old” age group (about 1,700 nonagenarians) to determine what is the key to living to your 90th birthday and older.
I’ll drink to that!
It’s hard to get fresh fish, so much so that at least one chef tried to bring in some piranha.
Peruvian chef with 40 frozen piranhas detained for 5 hours at LAX.
What a drag, am I right? There’s never a seat at the Sammy Hagar/KISS/Jimmy Buffet/other celebrity-centered bar, the coffee’s expensive, the power outlets are scarce, and you can’t even get 40 frozen piranhas through customs in peace.
(Click on the link for the full story)
When we’re in Peru, we always eat more fish. The Humboldt current brings up cold water from the very south Pacific, and the fishing is good in Peru. We eat Sea Bass for $3.40/lb. It’s enough to spoil one…
Hope everyone had a good Mother’s Day.
Here’s a look back again. Meanwhile, we’re still planning our trip to Peru in October with friends. So exciting!
The wedding was delightful. So nice to see young people in love, and having a good time. Always special to spend time with family back east too!
It’s Monday, and time Machu Picchu:
Travel weekend…family wedding. Have a good one!
The excitement is growing as we’re finally actually doing some serious planning for our Peru trip in the fall. We have our tickets to Lima, and did surprisingly well on Copa Airlines. We like them because it’s a relatively quick flight, and coming back it’s a daytime flight (arriving Vegas at night.)
Leaving however, is a different story. The flight departs at 01:33 AM, so it’s a late night at the airport, and a red-eye flight. It always leaves me a little dazed, but it ends up going fast as we sleep through the Las Vegas to Panama City part (about 6 hours,) and then drift in and out from Panama to Lima.
We arrive at 3:17 PM local Lima time, and will slouch over to the hotel, and grimly try and stay awake until as late as possible. Tentatively, our friends should be arriving at midnight. We don’t have their details yet…
It’s warming up here in Northwest Arizona, but still it has been a glorious Spring so far. Flowers everywhere, and more wildlife has been spotted this year.
Another from the astounding collection at Museo Larco in Lima, Peru.
Vietnam International Cafe Show, May 2-4 Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam – Link here.
European Coffee Expo, London, UK May 21-22 Link here.
World of Coffee Berlin, June 8-10, 2019, Berlin, Germany Link here.
Green Coffee Association, June 12-14, Houston TX Link here.
Zagreb Coffee Break, May 24-25, Zagreb, Croatia Link here.
Paris Coffee Show, Paris, France May 25-27, Link here.
Coffee Fest, Indianapolis, IN, May 31-June 2, Link here.
Known for its yellow fruit in the mature stage — a distinct departure from the cherry reds of every other coffee variety — the Yellow Bourbon has become something of a coffee jewel in Brazil.While the variety has experienced major recognition from coffee buyers and roasters in recent years — in part for its distinct, high-quality flavor attributes, and also due to a collective obsession with distinct varieties for the sake of differentiation — Yellow Bourbon actually has a long, winding history of cultivation and market exposure in Brazil.
Yikes, this one got in late. Busy…yadda yadda yadda…
This is what I need…
It’s Saturday before Easter, may everyone have a fabulous weekend!
Here’s a classic poem for all coffee lovers:
Here’s yet another look back through the astounding collection at Museo Larco in Lima:
Big news today out of Peru, former President Alan Garcia dies:
Local media has reported that former Peruvian President Alan García has died after undergoing emergency surgery at a hospital in Lima, following a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Happy Monday! May you and yours have a fabulous week…
Snuck this one in late. It’s been a super busy time; we’re literally working “half” days, you know, 12 hours a day. The joy of being self employed!
Here’s some more from the incredible collection at Museo Larco:
A Little Further South
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