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Journey to Origin: Chapter 2

Posted by Nathan Upchurch on

If I was asked to describe Colombia in one word I would say mountains. Overlooking the Villegas farm, Villa Ines, views like this are spectacular but not uncommon when traveling through the country. But though picturesque, the steep incline creates an immense workload and cost when it comes to the harvesting and care of the farm.

Many coffee farms have nurseries as part of their long-term maintenance and expansion plan. These little seedlings wouldn’t be planted for another session, but the shine to their leaves shows how well cared for and full of life they are.

Farms also plant other fruits and vegetables to help supplement their income on the off seasons. Wilmar graciously offered us a bag of his organic red peppers from the farm. Small interactions like these were my favorite part of the trip, and this one made a delicious addition to dinner.

The local crew unloading parchment in the Villegas dry mill. There was talk of a friendly Colombia v. New Zealand soccer match but I guess we’ll never know who would win that game…

The amount of equipment and infrastructure involved in processing coffee is staggering. Here we are walking through the dry mill at Capetillo as Pedro explains the many grading and sorting processes the green beans go through before they are bagged and shipped around the world.

Until this trip the most interaction I’d had with green beans was a sample that accidently was shipped to the wrong address. I’d learned the steps to pick and process coffee and I’d seen pictures, but I had no idea how developed the coffee sector is. I leave Colombia and Guatemala with a new respect for the amount of work and innovation that comes in every cup.