Our story starts in Pretoria, South Africa, where we met in 1991. Michael was making lattes at a restaurant a few blocks away from where I worked at a bookstore. He came from an extensive and varied background in coffee roasting, blending and espresso drink development in California as well as Europe. I grew up on instant coffee, but was easily and quickly converted to the real deal by this friendly Yankee.
It was his dream to return to Guatemala (where he visited in the eighties), and this desire he shared with me right at the outset of our friendship. One cup of coffee led to another, and to a wedding, and the start of a family in northern California, the Guatemala vision taking shape, and finally an emigration. We arrived in Guatemala in April 2000.
Crossroads Cafe opened its doors on December 18th, 2000 in the small highlands town of Panajachel, which sits on the shore of spectacular Lake Atitlan. We were blessed from that first year with divine appointments and connections with exceptional coffee farmers and their families, who have become our friends and trusted allies in spite of our foreignness and initial cultural ignorance. These relationships of mutual trust, spanning almost two decades, are the backbone of our business, and treasures we highly value and protect. All our suppliers are people of integrity, visionaries and excellent at their trades, which make their coffee consistently high quality and a delight to the palette.
Our other dream was to buy land and build a house. In our second year in Panajachel, we were blessed with a beautiful property on the outskirts of town. It is about an acre big and situated on a 45 degree slope. We call it Mooibos (“moi-bos”), which is Afrikaans for “beautiful woods”. We started developing it in December 2002, building an entrance and putting a wall up around it. In April 2006, we finally began digging the foundations for the house. It was a slow process, since the excavating was all done by hand, we have a small crew, and we had some setbacks when storms did damage to our walls. In December 2012, we were finally able to move in! We absolutely enjoy the tranquility and space and love sharing a safe place of rest for many weary souls.
Our daughters, Kasia and Lungi, shared this adventure with us for fourteen years. They studied at home their whole school career, and in addition to learning Spanish and picking up random skills from all sorts of travelers passing through, were trained by their dad in all aspects of the coffee business. These days they are living their own dreams in opposite hemispheres of the globe, but good coffee remains a focus as well as the community it creates.