After working as a barista out in Verbier, Switzerland (serving up Extract's finest) I was looking for my next coffee adventure. A chance to get closer to the source of the crop and meet the farmers.
So, I relished the opportunity to head out to Pablo Dorronsorro’s farm ‘La Marianela’ in southern Colombia. Over the next few weeks, I will experience what it is like to work on a coffee plantation as well as a means of understanding the primary processes that the crop undergoes to end up being ready to be shipped back to the UK.
After a rainy arrival and warm welcome from Pablo, we head straight to ‘La finca’ (the estate). I was quick to realise just how much work goes into the main harvest, and how the incredible teamwork of around two hundred and fifty workers is vital for Pablo’s target production.
For the last two weeks ‘La Marianela’ has been picking around 30 – 40,000kg of coffee per day. I spent my first day on the farm familiarising myself with some of the machinery used to de-pulp and wash the coffee as well as assisting some of the young workers, packaging the silo-dried coffee beans. It's exciting to be a part of Pablo’s team for what is set to be a record-breaking harvest this year.
These pics show some ripening coffee cherries (the red ones are just perfect!) and gives you an idea of what 30 tons of washed coffee looks like up close!
Although pleasantly warm like summer, we are moving into Colombia’s winter here and the evenings are beginning to get darker and darker.
This past weekend the team at La Marianela are working hard into the dusk (frequently till the early hours of the morning!) to ensure that everything is clean and ready for another big week of harvest.
Much of the quality of the coffee comes down to the level of care which goes in to how it is processed. The past few days I have perceived the true scale of the work needed to pulp, wash and dry the coffee.
The machines used to de-pulp the coffee berries are extremely clever yet can be problematic and need repairing quickly. Nevertheless, the addition of a new pulping machine today may help lighten the load, the coffee keeps coming and coming!
In these photos you can see the incredible landscapes out here (breathtaking) and also the truck-loads of coffee being produced from the farm. (As well as a little treat in there for Callum!)
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