Beyond the Beans: Ecuador 2019

Beyond the Beans: Ecuador 2019

Dublin Roasters offers more than just great coffee – we are also a community, one fueled by love and positivity (along with a good dose of caffeine!). The Dublin community reaches far beyond the walls of our shop in Frederick, Maryland, all the way to the small farmers in countries around the world where we ethically source and fairly trade the best organically grown beans for our customers.

Part of Dublin’s mission is to help further the sense of connection, communication, and inspiration between our communities – exploring the journey from a perfectly-ripened coffee cherry picked high in faraway mountains all the way to grading, roasting, brewing, and pouring into your favorite mug.

This June, Serina had the opportunity to visit Ecuador with wonderful companions Stephen Levene of The Coffee Quest and Sarah Cooper of Sarah Rachael Photography.

They were able to visit several coffee farms, not just meeting with the farmers but sharing experiences, making new friends, and learning so much about the beautiful Ecuadorian people and culture along the way.

Each week, Serina and Sarah will be sharing experiences from their trip, spreading their inspiration to give back to these communities in new, creative ways. The stories come to life through the incredible visual imagery provided by the extremely talented Sarah – please check out her website linked above and be sure to follow her on Facebook to see her latest amazing works.

This week’s post comes directly from Sarah’s blog, her second from the trip and posted as a follow-up to one of the images shared through social media upon their return. Sit back with your favorite cup of freshly-roasted Dublin brew, and enjoy seeing how we are bringing the world a little closer together one sip at a time (and be sure to check back for updates or follow us on Facebook or Instagram for more).


Remember last week when we posted this image from our trip???


It is one of our faves!

The colors, textures and multiple stories happening at once are fascinating.  There is the story of the artist behind the mural, a story the mural is telling and the story of the woman making her way through the village.

The image got a lot of attention on social media and was reaching all the way to Ecuador.  We noticed that someone was tagged in the comments under the post.  That ‘someone’ was a graffiti artist in Quito, Ecuador. Immediately we got excited! Zooming in on the signature on the mural, we saw it matched the man who was tagged in our post. Somehow this image made it back to the man who painted this mural seven years ago in Catamayo Loja, Ecuador!

We were seriously on cloud 9 that this single image (our first share from our adventure) made its way to the artist whose work helped to tell a story in this photo.  After walking by this mural and shooting this image we studied the details of the art.  Right there, in the streets of Catamayo we were wondering what the painting was about and who did it.
Now, maybe, we were about to find out…

We clicked his profile and were blown away by all of his artwork and what he has done, not only in Ecuador but in Brazil and China as well. He has received many awards from the local government and hosted workshops about his art.  This man is an incredible artist and we were thrilled to be in touch with the artist behind the mural.  We sent him a message just wanting to know more about this mural, not knowing what to expect. Hoping to just learn more about his piece that we were so drawn to.

After some social media messages were exchanged,  Sarah spent over an hour chatting with him on WhatsAPP learning about him, his passion, his art and talking about a few ideas on how we can work together for Dublin Roasters and for SarahRachael Photography.  We are beyond excited about what may come of this connection – maybe it is meeting an amazing artist with a connection to our trip and this image… or it may be more.  You never know unless you try, right? SOOOO – meet the artist!

Xavier D. Calderon –  IG: @Skiper.mfc :

Xavier “Skipy”‘ says his mission is to inspire other artists to not give up on their dreams – he said that he wants to tell the world:

“The most beautiful part of my art is not the work itself, but what it conveys regarding the themes and to the people.  My goal is to generate emotions in people. To inspire them to leave their status quo, to be angry or to smile, it does not matter – but that they feel something different when they see my painting.”

We can certainly say that we were very affected by his art – made us smile,  wonder and feel excitement.  Mission accomplished on us!

Skipy refers to himself as “a strange artist for the art world. And for the normal world I am an outsider.”  When asked why he referred to himself as an ‘outsider’, he says he is an artist, an ordinary person, and at the same time a creative being that leads change and “intends to leave a legacy.”  You get the idea from talking with him that, being an artist, he sees the world a bit differently and has visions to see the beauty and create change in all he sees – it’s kind of an artist thing.

Graffiti is a big part of the culture in Ecuador and can be seen among many streets and alleys.  While driving through different villages it was hard to keep Sarah from jumping out of the car to photograph it all.  Skipy states that he can not fall into the classic ‘graffiti culture’ category as it used to relate to hip hop and street fighting and he is not there. The current culture of graffiti is of an artist’s expression, group activity and a coming together.  It has become the ‘tattoos on the skin of the cities’ – expressing the artists that live there and the climates of it’s people.  Such a beautiful and heartfelt way to express a culture.

He shared a very fascinating video with us about graffiti culture in Ecuador – check it out, it truly spoke to expression, the culture and the artist in all of us. Worth the watch for sure.

Soooo – we finally got to ask him about the mural in SRP’s photograph. Skipy explained it is about the life of the ‘ Zafrero’.  The people that cut and recollect sugar cane.  He explained that there are many of them in the area where he chose to display his art.  Catamayo Loja is home to the Monterrey Sugar Cane Processing Plant, which provides a lot of financial support to the local town.  He sent over a few images of himself creating this piece seven years ago and sharing it with students in a workshop he hosted. It was fascinating to see this piece of art as he created it in 2012.

Skipy shared that he will be in the US soon for a conference and we spoke more about potential ways to come together in our shared missions.  Sarah thanked him for his time and being so open to our crazy ideas from two women across the world the that he has never even met.

We joined in our amazement at just how sharing this one artful image made a connection across the world and what could come next… We marveled at what art is doing…and can do for the world – with so many ways to express and connect. 

Sarah said, “It is crazy how big the world is…. and small at the same time.”
Skipy replied, “The world is small. It is us that is big.”

And he is so right! So get out there, believe, follow your dreams, make your mark, create a difference… Be you … Because you are BIG!

Thank you Skipy!

Photography by SarahRachael Photography; Mural Art by @skiper.mfc; (Portrait of Skipy is not SRP); People featured in images are from The Coffee Quest Company, and the beautiful woman of Quito.
(C) 2019