Where it all began

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Where it all began

Our story is different from the traditional stories of coffee-growing farms. We did not inherit a farm that was already growing coffees, nor did we implement the traditional techniques of identifying and commercializing green beans.

Felipe fell in love with the specialty coffee industry over 10 years ago, when he set up a company that imported Colombian coffees to the US. And 5 years ago, I fell in love with Felipe, and with his love for coffee. Perhaps I should say that I fell in coffee.

When he came back to live in Colombia, we decided to start our life´s project: a very unique specialty coffee farm. We began our venture by studying and identifying what the specialty coffee market was really asking for, and then we started looking for the perfect place to start the project.

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We looked at over 100 farms throughout the first year, searching only for the perfect “ecotopo” that could meet the strict search criteria that we had: an ideal altitude, the perfect weather, the right amount of sunlight and natural shade, good sources of fresh water, the right temperature ranges, and the presence of dedicated coffee growers in the area, among others.

In November 2011 we finally found a magical place and purchased an 18-hectares plot that was abandoned over 15 years ago: a mountain with an almost virgin forest that was divided by the beautiful Apulo River. The setup of the farm started right away: the design and construction of a state-of-the-art wet mill where we would be able to dream and experiment with different processing methods, and a coffee lab where we would be able to analyze, roast and cup every coffee produced at the project’s facility. At the same time, we identified and delimited 14 “terroirs” in the farm that soon became the home of our exotic varietals, which by that time were already growing in our germinator.

La Palma & El Tucan today (midground). Photo credit: Sami Piskonen
La Palma & El Tucan today (midground). Photo credit: Sami Piskonen

Our vision about our country’s specialty coffee-market is one in which growers work hand in hand with buyers, and strive to deliver a high-quality coffee that must meet the rigorous standards required by today’s specialty industry; the reality is that most of them don´t even have access to buyers, or the right equipment, or the knowledge, or the infrastructure and resources to deliver such quality. Even though we are aware of the great efforts that the FNC (Colombian Coffee Federation) has done to better prepare Colombian growers for this challenge, the results are still not there and we felt the urge to revert this trend.

Jorge, one of our neighbors and partners.
Jorge, one of our neighbors and partners.

We needed to innovate, to challenge the current system and this is why we couldn’t just do the same as everyone else. We wanted to open and support a direct communication channel between growers and the specialty coffee roasters, in which interaction was key. Through the use of an innovative brand and direct contact with the end consumers, we share our project’s values and make sure that we find a perfect match on the client´s side: people who are discerning in their insatiable search for quality and environmental sustainability, and especially those who value the coffee grower’s well-being. Only a few roasters out there fit the profile we’re looking for, and those who do become part of our family and are able to create and innovate with the support of our team and our neighboring coffee-growers.

-Elisa

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