Discovering How Their Coffee is Made Inspired These Artists and Business Owners

    Mexico 1A business trip sometimes can change the way you look at your job, inspiring you to think about how your products are made and the people who make them.

    That’s exactly what happened to the owners of Café con Leche Jodi Carbonell and Melissa Fernandez along with Chris Hooten and local artist Lisa Luevanos when they traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico. Their goal was to document the lives of coffee farmers in the area; they achieve that and so much more during their trip there.

    The group captured photographs and stories of the day-to-day duties that are crucial to ensure the growth of quality coffee beans. Now, they are ready to share the photos and stories from their trip along with a sampling of chocolate and coffee made with fresh beans from Oaxaca farmers.

    The event, “Adventura de Café en Oaxaca,” will take place inside the Atrium at the Southwest Detroit Business Association beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at 7752 W. Vernor Highway in Detroit. Guests will enjoy photographs, stories, chocolate and coffee from Oaxaca, a hub for food and culture in Mexico.

    Mexico 2“I was struck by how integrated coffee farming was into the lives of the villagers,” Chris Hooten of Café con Leche says. “Just as the plants were scattered around their houses and the trees of the valley are woven into the fabric of the forest, the cultivation of the coffee was woven into the economics of the area.”

    The event is part of the Bitter|Sweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts, which explores how hot drinks like coffee and tea changed the drinking habits and social customs across the world.

    “This event is a great way to share the important role that Mexico has played in shaping our world’s history,” Kathy Wendler, president of the SDBA, said in a statement. “This history includes the diverse culture and community that makes southwest Detroit such an important destination for our state and region.”

    Mexico 3Oaxaca, Mexico is located in southwestern Mexico and is a hub for food, history, music and historic landmarks. Coffee farmers interviewed on the trip to the area formed a cooperative within their community to treat their coffee to a higher standard. The coffee from Oaxaca is used at Café con Leche, a coffee shop located in Detroit’s New Center area, which promotes uniting the local community through authentic Latin drinks.

    The Bitter|Sweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate exhibition at the DIA is the first exhibition to activate all five of the senses. Learn how coffee, tea and chocolate have changed social customs across the world. The exhibition at the DIA is complemented by events throughout the metro Detroit area that showcase how hot beverages changed the world.

    The Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) fosters innovation, drive and commitment in the Southwest Detroit community. Established in 1957, it supports the community’s vision for a healthy, vibrant neighborhood. SDBA works with local businesses, investors, entrepreneurs, customers and neighbors to develop a place where more and more people are choosing to live, work, shop and play.