Updated: Jan 21
This was our view every morning waking up at my brother Bill's 50-acre coffee farm in the outskirts of Popayan, Colombia. The farm, El Robledal or Oak Grove, is located right in the heart of the fertile Cauca Valley, one of the country's premier coffee regions. Further adding to the quality of the coffee we enjoyed every day is the meticulous care that Bill and his business partner, Fercho, have taken in establishing the farm. In just 6 years it has gone from being empty, but very fertile land, to producing pure, organic coffee that was recently given the highest classification in the European Union.
It was a big advantage that coffee had never been grown on the property before Bill established El Robledal. No pesticides had ever been used on the land, so it was possible to be organic right away. Today, the already rich soil is enriched with manure from the farm animals and helped along by the "Lombricultura" or worm farm.
The coffee farm is beautiful and productive
Many people don't realize that the coffee "bean" is picked as a bright red berry.
Coffee ready to be picked
Fercho left, and Bill, far right, help one of the seasonal coffee pickers last May during the height of the picking season.
Once they are picked, the beans need to be sorted so that only the highest quality beans are saved. The farm has a processing machine to separate the beans from the cascara or shell. Even with machinery, the processing is labor intensive and involves careful attention to drying times and hands-on monitoring every day. The farm sells the beans un-roasted, but for consumption at the farm, the ancient method is used. The beans are roasted on a wood-burning stove and then ground - the result is an unbelievably delicious cup of coffee!
The beans are roasted on a wood burning stove
The roasted beans are sorted
A perfect cup of Colombian coffee!