A Few Questions With... Diego Baraona

“A Few Questions With…” is a series featuring some of Ally’s partners across the globe. Our goal is to get to know the people who make coffee happen a little better, to talk about their work, and to look forward toward their vision of where coffee is headed. We’re thankful for these relationships that we get to be a part of, and excited to have the opportunity to let these folks tell you about themselves in their own words.
The following responses have been edited for clarity.

Diego Baraona is a fifth-generation coffee producer operating Los Pirineos farm in Berlin, Usulután, El Salvador, in the Tecapa Chinameca mountain range. Diego comes from a long line of coffee producers with more than 130 years of coffee farming history in his family. His father, Gilberto Baraona, began farming at Los Pirineos in 2011. Gilberto earned a reputation over his career for high quality coffee and a substantial collection of coffee varieties grown in the nursery at Los Pirineos. Diego took over the operations at the farm in 2020 following his father's passing, and today works to carry on the legacy and tradition of each generation of his family who preceded him. We're proud to continue our partnership with the Baraona family after sourcing coffee first from Gilberto in 2019, and again from Diego for this 2021 harvest. Diego Baraona sitting in front of bags of coffee
Diego Baraona at Los Pirineos

Ally: Where does your farm name come from?
Diego: Our farm is named after the Pyrenees mountain range in Europe.

A: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
D: During my spare time I love playing guitar and making music. I started playing the guitar at the age of 14 and just like coffee, it's my other passion. I also enjoy running and recently I took on cycling and swimming with hopes of becoming a triathlete :).

A: What’s your favorite meal to have with coffee?
D: My favorite meal to have with coffee would be semita and/or quesadilla, two of my favorite Salvadoran desserts. Can't think of a better way to pair coffee ;).

A: What does coffee mean to you?
D: For me, coffee is way more than just a crop or product. It's a doorway to being able to connect with different cultures around the world as well as make friendships all around the globe; it's such a beautiful community. It's my first year being a full time coffee producer but I just find it amazing to think that a cup of coffee can connect us no matter where we come from.

Diego Baraona quote: "Always try to step out of your comfort zone—that will allow you to grow. Life will throw you curveballs every now and then, but you must be ready to hit them out of the park."

A: What has changed in your perspective as a coffee grower over the past five or ten years?
D: For me it would be too early to fully respond to this question, but what I can say is that it's exciting to see that younger generations are starting to be more aware of specialty coffee and the importance of origin. So, as a coffee grower, it gives me hope and excitement to see this growing awareness in the coffee community. It motivates us producers to keep on working hard and being consistent with quality.

A: What is one message you’d like to share with the coffee community?
D: No matter how complicated things can get, never lose hope and always push through. There are always ups and downs in life, but those downs should not stop you from thriving. Always try to step out of your comfort zone—that will allow you to grow. Life will throw you curveballs every now and then, but you must be ready to hit them out of the park.

A: What do you hope to see for the future of your farm? What do you hope to see for the future of coffee more broadly?
D: I am determined to keep on innovating in regards to coffee processing. I want to discover new and interesting ways of achieving unique cup profiles. At Los Pirineos we have around 70 different varieties so I also want to keep on growing and obtaining new varieties to keep on growing our varietal garden and seed bank. I am also very determined in maintaining healthy ecological practices and always being socially responsible, which I hope to see more in the future of coffee as well as more younger coffee producers.

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