Image

Colombia – Salento – Coffee Coffee Coffee

Written by SM

Day 10 of 44

Salento was well and truly on our to-do list from the moment we started researching Colombia. A chance to see 60m high palm trees, and of course a chance to go to a coffee growing region.

P1070437

I like coffee, I always have. It is a staple in my mourning routine. In the past few years though I have started to understand that we are very lucky in Australia to have high quality coffee on offer to us. Martins and I started travelling in 2015 through Europe- we soon discovered that coffee standards just aren’t the same. Far too often after a hard morning, when all I needed was a decent cup of coffee, I was presented with a very milky very large glass. I actually don’t like the taste of warm milk, so I was very disappointed with the offering. Soon enough we decided it would be better to just start drinking coffee black. Even in the UK we found it difficult to find a good strong coffee. Lucky enough for us, once we had settled in Portsmouth a great little coffee shop Hunter Gatherer opened up near us. I think it was around then that we started becoming more interested in the different tastes of coffee, different brewing styles and what on earth all this single origin business was about. Of course we knew from reading many coffee packets that Colombia was a big producer of coffee, what better place to learn?

wp-image-2119373487
Coffee tree

 

 

P1070461

When the time came to choose where to stay in Salento, for once, the choice was easy. Plantation house on the outskirts of Salento was originally a coffee farm house, and the Coffee farm was just along the road a little further. The hostel was lovely and calm- a little oasis away from the town which was teeming with other tourists, Colombian and foreigners alike. It also offered a coffee farm tour! We signed up right away, and after a warning from the owner about the paths, helped ourselves to some rubber boots (wellington boots or gumboots whichever you prefer) and a very handy walking stick. Accompanied by his rather exuberant puppy Stanley a 7 month old Newfoundland with a penchant for bananas, as well as his 2 other dogs, our unexpectedly English guide appeared. Turns out Tim Edwards who goes by the more Colombian sounding name of Don Eduardo had moved to Colombia 13 years previously and bought the coffee farm 9 years ago.

P1070435
Freshly harvested coffee cherries. We got to tried the Colombian yellow variety

 

Once we were kitted up in our boots, we set off down the muddy path, a historic path that was once the main highway to Bogota, passing by various fields before we got to Don Eduardo’s finca (farm). Tim gave us a very thorough introduction to the 2 main types of coffee, Robusta and Arabica beans, the main producers of coffee, the coffee trees, the best places to grow coffee and the process of growing the beans to roasting the beans. His explanations peppered with historical and political information about Colombia and coffee production. We were shown around the farm, and then watched a demonstration of how the coffee cherry transforms into the ground coffee we buy ready packaged in shops. Throughout the tour we were treated to 2 very different cups of black coffee.

P1070446

wp-image-227106502
The machine which removes the skin and pulp from the 2 coffee beans.

 

P1070467
The blur of a hand roast
wp-image-1955851880
perfectly toasted

 

P1070473
And freshly ground

 

The farm is located in a very scenic position, and after the demonstration we got to wander down through his fields through bamboo forests and next to pineapple plants. The tour is quite long, however I now have a much greater understanding of coffee production and farming, and hopefully a greater appreciation of the effort taken to produce a drink I so often took for granted back home.

P1070484
Pineapple plants only produce one pineapple a year.. you better make sure you pick it at the right time
P1070434
View over Don Eduardo’s Finca

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s