Over the past month and a half, I have spent over four weeks traveling in South America checking in on the harvest there with our producing partners, and am currently on the road again for another stretch. Much of the recent travel has been focused on Colombia and I’m truly excited about what Stumptown is working on there to bring to you this year, so I wanted to share some of the best images and prime moments from some of those visits.These are the hillsides of the Tolima region, near Planadas where our El Jordan coffee comes from. I’m always so amazed how steep the slopes are where coffee grows in Colombia.Motorcycles are the primary mode of transportation around town and out to the farms. This area of Tolima is one of the most remote, isolated producing areas in the country, previously known more for the guerilla activity and conflict. Quality coffee is helping to change that.
The small scale farmers here in Planadas are increasingly investing more in quality and organizing together to share ideas and knowledge.
High prices are really going a long way here, farmers are able to invest in more land and expanding infrastructure on the farm–though the the roads and other basic services are lacking and far behind other parts of Colombia, making moving the coffee out a huge challenge. Looking out at workers picking coffee, the sound of ripe cherries hitting the buckets echoed up the valley.
Controlled, meticulous drying systems are fundamental for quality here in Tolima. Changing climate patterns are bringing rain all year, so farmers must adjust and adapt, but stay focused on quality to maintain a viable business.
An example of the reality of producing coffee in Colombia: on one single branch of the same plant you can see ripe cherry, green unripe cherry, and flowering that will soon become cherry.
This is what we mean when we say “manual depulping” equipment. It’s very traditional, and is capable of helping to produce some of the world’s best coffee.Farmers in and around Planadas are on average much younger than in other areas of the coffee producing world.
I’ll never get tired of these incredible views and landscapes in Colombia.
Tasting the local fruits with producers of our La Piramide coffee.
A coffee tree trunk sprouting new life.Covered, ventilated drying at San Isidro.The one and only Isaias Cantillo, model coffee farmer, Finca La Esperanza, Suaza, Huila.Isaias is a dedicated, hard working, farmer totally committed to proudly producing outstanding quality coffee, a great model for small scale farmers around the world.The Cantillo brothers and their proud papa. The fourth generation of farmers in this great family is coming up and excited about a positive future producing coffee thanks to their model for sustainable production and focus on quality.Brothers Cantillo and the mother shrub.The appropriately named Cantillo variety, a genetic mutation they came across on their farms almost 20 years ago and decided to keep propagating.Looking out over the valleys below from La Esperanza with the Nevado de Huila looming in the distance.If it rained after you went down the hill, it might be a little sticky getting back up. A coffee farmer in Loja, Ecuador tending the seedlings with his daughters.Magic moments in the Andes. Quillabamba, Ecuador.
Bringing down the day’s cherry harvest, Vilcabamba, Ecuador.