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The Boston Globe

Food & dining

Coffee grower enjoys ‘seed to cup’ relationships with local shops

CAMBRIDGE — Three years ago, Gustavo Alfaro first welcomed Silas Moulton of Barismo Roastery in Arlington to his coffee farm high in the plush northwest mountains of Guatemala. The friendship between grower and bean buyer was among the first of the nascent “seed to cup” relationships developing in this country and has benefited coffee connoisseurs in Cambridge, Somerville, and Belmont.

Alfaro produces Buena Esperanza and Pena Blanca coffee beans distributed by Barismo to specialty coffee shops like Voltage Coffee & Art, Dwelltime Coffee Bar and Bakeshop, and Clover Food Lab, all in Cambridge. When Moulton visited Guatemala, Alfaro was a fourth-generation coffee grower who recently repurposed his farm to restore environmental balance and was on the verge of winning an internationally recognized award for one of his coffee lots. Eight years ago, Alfaro was living in Cape Town as a manager for a medical research institution. “I had a lot of respect for what my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were doing, but I was not interested in learning and following that route,” says Alfaro, who was in town for the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s 2013 event in Boston last week. He talked about his farm in “Meet your grower” sessions in local coffee bars, including Clover Food Lab last Sunday.

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