José Isidro Lara Calidonio

Isidro is 46 years old.  He has been growing coffee for the past ten years, and is one of more than 800 coffee producing members of the Cooperativa Cafetalera Capucas Limitada (COCAFCAL).

Isidro and his wife Oneida have four sons: Walter (18), Wilmer (17), Jimmy (10) and Milton (6). The two older sons do not wish to continue into higher education. Isidro hopes that Jimmy will continue with his studies and learn a second language.

Isidro produces specialty, high-quality coffee. He works in a very unstable coffee market which has been badly hit by the effects of coffee leaf rust, a disease that affects the leaves and destroys the harvest.

Isidro is very religious, he thanks God for everything he has, but does not sit around waiting for things to happen.

He works day and night to improve the quality of his coffee; he does this by taking good care of the plants, building new facilities and maintaining high standards of cleanliness. Similarly, he manages to maintain the quality of his coffee, and as a result has managed to attract a number of international clients who first sampled his coffee at the Capucas coffee quality competition which has been held annually for the last eight years.  

Hence, he gets a better price for his product and can invest the extra income in new installations such as his own wet mill, a solar dryer and a new patio to dry the coffee.

Unlike his colleagues, he isn’t afraid to ask questions at lectures and workshops. He demonstrated his clear drive and ambition by accepting Omar’s invitation to attend an important meeting in the USA (this, despite not being able to speak English and never having been out of the region). Several setbacks in acquiring a visa did not deter him from making the journey, indeed he was the only one out of 25 producers that wanted to go there and actually went.

Meet coffee producer Manuel Cardoza