Category: Colombia, 2020


February 6.

In the morning we drive two hours for a special, private experience, arranged by Brian and his travel company, True Colombia Travel. In the past couple days, we have have moved from Medellin to Cannúa (Brian’s lodge) and Santa Elena, where we saw the flowers, and today to to Fredonia (which sounds to me as if it comes straight out of a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta) in the Southwest.En route to our destination, we pass through some small towns.

Over 120 years ago, the very first commercial coffee cultivations in Colombia were planted in this beautiful finca (farm) in San Cayetano, which today produces some of the best traditional coffee in the country. San Cayetano is Rainforest Alliance certified for their conscienscious treatment of the earth and UTZ fair trade certified for fair treatment of their employees.

 Our personal tour highlights the best of Colombian cultivation on an expansive property that spans various elevations and cultivates both high-land and low-land coffee. We travel by jeep over an extremely bumpy road, driven by Felipe, vice president of San Cayetano, and accompanied by Brian. In the process, we are treated to breathtaking views of the central ridge of the Andes mountains and the Cauca River 3,000 feet below.

Along the route we encounter pickers who work on the farm, see how they live, and pass a school constructed on the farm specially for the children of families that work in the fields. Currently there are thirty pickers working, but in high season, October, there will be 250. Pickers are paid by the kilo. An average picker might pick 80 kilos in a day, but an expert may pick 250 or more kilos.

 We are able to see every step of the lengthy and difficult coffee process from seed to cup, and see ripe beans straight from the tree. A vente at Starbucks will never quite be the same again. We stop for a traditional farm lunch back at the house.

 After lunch, we visit the processing warehouse to see how they de-pulp, wash, and dry the beans in both traditional as well as specialty methods, promoted by a coffee initiative established by True Colombia Travel.

Back at the house, Brian prepares San Cayentano coffee for us using two different methods, and explains the reasons for each step of his preparation. If I was reading Carol’s body language correctly, she’s unlikely to be forsaking our coffee maker any time soon.

At the owner’s private mansion, we have the grounds to ourselves. We change into our swimsuits (after a nap, of course) and take a dip in the infinity pool. As the sun sets, we sit on the deck, reading and blogging.

We’re served wine as the sun disappears from view. Later, we move over to the fire place, fed by coffee wood, and relax as we are served our dinner.

After dinner, I spend some time in the jacuzzi. Hey, somebody’s gotta do it, right?

A very interesting day. Not as much fun as the music school, but definitely worthwhile and, in the late afternoon and evening, very relaxing.


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