The first week of December, we made our annual trip to Jardin, Colombia to visit several of the farms we buy coffee from and to taste the newest offerings that will be shipped in early 2019. Our days were spent between the Empressas de Antioquia, the mill where all the coffee is processed, and visiting farms which means piling into Jeeps and heading out on the back roads not far from the town center. We were fortunate that our trip leader Jim brought along a drone giving us, and you, the opportunity to see some of the landscape from a different point of view.
The above video was taken after we had already driven through the mud reaching the highest point we could drive to this year. Arboleda reaches almost 2000 meters above sea level and you can see that coffee is grown, and picked from bottom to top. The views are spectacular in every direction. It was especially rewarding to have Jahn White and Trent Lytle, our two roasters, along on this trip. For Trent, it was his first time traveling to origin and the insights he gained will last a life time.
Among the highlights was visiting Finca Margaritas where producer Lourdes Restrepo has been turning out excellent harvests for the past 14 years since taking over operations after her husband passed away. It was especially rewarding to bring her a few bags of her coffee that we roasted just a few days before our visit.
After visiting with Lourdes for a few hours, we spent the remainder of a day visiting Resguardi Indigena de Christiana. This large plot of land is home to 450 families that collectively grow coffee and sugar cane that is sold commercially along with other crops that provide food for those living on the native lands. The community is largely self contained including their own schools. Intricate beaded jewelry made on the reservation is also very popular with locals and tourists.
Having been some of the first settlers in this region over 200 years ago, the Christiana successfully regained control of their ancestral lands in 1976. Keeping their history and traditions alive is an important part of community life.
The elder women performed several dances for us before we departed. By far, this was the most in depth visit to a coffee community we’ve over the past 8 years.
Our trip ended with a 4 hour cab ride back to the Medellin airport. Since our flight schedule was different than everyone else, our hosts booked us the ride. We realized this wasn’t an official taxi when the driver mentioned that if we happened to get pulled over by the police, remember to tell them that we were his good friends visiting from the US and had been staying at his house all week. Fortunately, we made it to the airport without incident.
Over the next few months, we’ll continue to receive samples of coffee from this years harvest and decide which will be the next offering at Mighty Good come April. We’re very much looking forward to sharing that coffee with you.