A COFFEE roaster – whose business is based in Farnham – has returned from visiting coffee farmers in Central and South America.

Ricardo Pena, from Coffee Gems Artisan Roasters, visited farmers in Colombia, Peru and El Salvador in January to select his beans for roasting this year.

In Colombia he visited Huila region. After crossing the Amazon river on his way to Peru, the third stage of his journey was in El Salvador, to visit the Chalatenango region. Ricardo visited Ever Diaz – a Cup of Excellence winner in 2021 – his sister and father.

Ricardo said it was important to understand the source of the coffee as sustainability was central to his business. He also wanted to understand how farmers coped with the challenges of climate change, picking the right variety depending on soil type, plant diseases, a shortage of labour and the high cost of fertiliser.

He said: “Visiting farmers is an act of showing respect and admiration for the great job that farmers do.

“The expertise and passion of producers is overwhelming to the point where we just wish to respect their tradition and devotion to produce honest and class-apart coffees. Every time we’re in front of our coffee roaster and a batch is in the drum, we feel challenged to present their sublime work in the best possible way.”

Coffee Gems coffees can be bought from Ricardo’s roasting house at 20 Riverside Park, Farnham. It is served at the Electric Cycle Cafe in Downing Street.