Barista Magazine

JUN-JUL 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 101 of 107

102 barista magazine though. We had a radio telephone, the kind where everyone else can hear what you say. Not the ideal scenario for a teenager. I was also tomboyish, always running everywhere with scraped knees, and I hated dresses. Farm life was sunny and nice, but could be a little lonely. However, I loved animals and could have just about any pet I wanted. So we had dogs and cats, birds, monkeys, even a sloth. For fun I would ride horses with my brother and the children of the farm employees. We explored, picked and ate fruit, swam in rivers, that kind of thing. There were only two channels on the TV and nothing good to watch, so I was seldom inside. We also had livestock: sheep, chickens, and pigs, and chores, which mostly revolved around feeding the chickens and mowing the (enormous) lawn. SA: Since there was so much learning about coffee growing and processing going on when you were a kid, I'm super curious about how coffee was prepared in your house, and what kind of relationship you personally had to coffee back then. RP: I started drinking coffee when I was 10 or 11 before going to school (we had to get up at 5 a.m. to go to school), but it was with a lot of milk and sugar. I remember that we had a percolator. We didn't actually have our own coffee until I was out of college, but as soon as we started roasting and drinking our own coffee, there was no going back to buying roasted coffee: the freshness, the smell alone, was great! I've always loved coffee, if for nothing else than because of the social component. Having a cup of coffee with friends is something I've done since high school and still do. But I wasn't really into coffee for the actual coffee until I learned about different coffee origins, cup profiles, and the differ- ent attributes/characteristics surrounding high-quality coffees. In my case, that hap- pened around the same time as the Geisha craze started, and as a consequence of that. I had never imagined that there could be so many aspects contributing to a good cup of coffee. SA: So af ter high school, you lef t Panama for college? RP: I went to Wellesley College in Massa- chusetts. I studied psychology and French, mostly because I had the credits to major in that. Fun fact, I used to have coffee at Coffee Connection [founded and later sold by George Howell] back in college. Loved it! I got married and moved to Puerto Rico after college. I worked at a marketing consultancy firm in Puerto Rico for a while. I had my two children: Gabriel, 23 now, graduating from Goucher College this year, "Coff ee and the coff ee world are my happy place," Rachel says. "I am ever so fortunate that we crossed paths."

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