The Elstermühle in Colombia - a journey of origin
"Where do you get your coffee from?"
We hear this question every day and with pleasure.
This year the journey takes us to the country of origin of our coffee “Colombia Quindio”. Together with our green coffee dealer Thomas Stehl, the nephew of the coffee farmer Mauricio and roaster colleagues from all over Germany, we set off for Colombia in the Quindio region, which gave our Colombian coffee its name.
The journey was long and arduous via Frankfurt - Bogota - Armenia to the Finca La Mejorana but full of curiosity about the coming days.
After a short night, struggling with the time difference and a hearty breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, plantains, rice pancakes, rusks and coffee, the first trip went to Finca la Carmelita.
The farm owner Don Carlos took us into his world of understanding nature and its interaction. There are no weeds or pests for him on the farm. Everything between the coffee trees is justified, whether it is dead trees that provide shade or the extensive vegetation on the ground. The coffee plants are part of this small jungle and only the narrow paths between the coffee plants are reminiscent of people and a plantation.
After this experience we were very hungry and found relieve in a neighboring restaurant. In an animal paradise with goats and hummingbirds that buzzed around us, there was great grilled meal and hand-squeezed juices.
In the afternoon we visited the processing station and the drying facility on the farm. By exporting the coffee, Don Carlos was able to invest in a drying plant that was built from local Guadua bamboo. However, that cannot hide the fact that support from our side is still required.
The peeling station and fermentation basins as well as the technical equipment are from the times of the great-grandfather.
Here we quickly realized how important it is to buy our green coffee at a fair price, because if the profit is just enough for survival, investments are postponed or coffee production is completely given up, which many of Don Carlos' neighbors have already done.
The next day was dedicated to our project. School attendance. We support the school to provide the farmers' children with a good education so that they can shape their future with a promising future. Everyone already had small gifts from Germany with them and on site we spontaneously pooled and made it possible to build a new roof for the school building.
Next our trip went to a neighboring farm to Neftali Madrid. This is where the coffee plants are grown and experiments with new varieties are carried out for all farm colleagues. Here I was able to pick up my first geisha plant. These new varieties on Don Carlos soil should promise a lot in the future.
After eating fried eggs, plantains and pulled pork together, we visited the cultivation of Finca “la Samaria”, one of the pioneers of organic cultivation in the area.
On Friday we mainly sat in our off-road vehicle in the direction of Riosucio, where the young engineer, Christiano, prefers to grow coffee than to pursue his studies.
For us, this is a good sign for the future of coffee growing in Colombia. This story immediately reminded me of our own, my wife and I have turned our backs on our professions and devoted ourselves entirely to coffee.
The subsequent visit to the coffee farmers' cooperative “Ingruma” finally gave us the opportunity to taste the coffee.
And then back … driving … food … beer … bed, in that order.
The last day gave us the opportunity to visit the finca "la Mejorana" again and see a large coffee processing company.
Here we were able to taste a few coffees and were immediately enthusiastic about the aromas, we hope to be able to try out some samples in our roastery soon so that we can buy new Colombias for you directly.
Photos: Hans Ripa / Mario Rose
Text: Mario Rose