Vinales Valley, the agricultural heart of Cuba.
I took an impromptu trip to Cuba last year, well new years eve. I spent a few days in Havana completely cut off from any form of internet access which was actually refreshing. It can become addictive constantly checking social media. I joined a trip ran by Intrepid travel which took us from Havana to the valley of Vinales. Vinales is the tropical home of the Cuban cigar, the best in Cuba are produced here. We took a walking tour to a coffee and cigar farm on one of the worst weather days on the trip. It did clear though as we reached the farm.
We met a lovely man called Antonio who you can see in many of my photos. He is 86! and owns the farm where he lives with 4 of his 7 children. He spoke almost no English but he was so easy to connect with. His smile was full and welcoming and he loved bringing us into his life for that short time. He showed us how they select the beans, roast and mash them. It’s heartwarming to travel to the other side of the world to find such warm welcoming people, passionate about what they do.
Traditional farm work.
Antonio has worked this farm for decades and the hard work shows. He is 86 but he is very fit and still contributes to the farm. They still use traditional methods of crushing the beans, due to the fact that Cuba does not have modern farming equipment available. This means that from work is a laborious pursuit.
Crushing the beans.
The beans are crushed using Antonio’s home-made equipment and then toasted and ready to drink. I’m not a huge coffee drinker but the coffee I tried here was delicious. It feels quite special to be drinking Cuban coffee as it is not as readily available as they would like it to be. Because of conditions they aren’t able to export high quantities.See Intrepid tour
The beans are toasted over a flame.
I was a big fan of the clapperboard interior of the farmhouse kitchen.
Just for good measure, they had these beautifully coloured cocoa pods on display for us to see, they don’t grow cocoa on the farm only coffee.