La Primavera Finca
We’re coffee hunting again, trying to find the right coffee farm that we hope to be our long-term partner in Colombia. The next few days are enlightening, exciting and pure joy. We’re staying with Francisco, who along with his sister and brother have inherited the family farm and are rehabilitating it as an eco farm, one of the most environmentally conscious farms I’ve ever visited; and in total harmony with nature. When they talk about it they have so much passion and emotion in their desire to “heal the soil” and “celebrate the return of wildlife”. It was inspiring.
We work shade grown farms in different countries, and this is really important to us – maintaining the indigenous trees, the natural habitat and the vital ecosystems rather than stripping forest for easily managed farmland. But this was the next level of shade grown – a more accurate description would be that it was some coffee trees planted in a rainforest!
The farm is also certified bird-friendly, and we had the privilege of spotting so many incredible bird species, including several humming birds.
Furthermore, they have invested in a small dry mill on the farm itself, which adds value, adds quality control and helps diversify income through servicing other small farms. The brief connection last time in Colombia, followed up with conversation online and research came together perfectly.
La Primavera grow both Castillo and Tabi, and with the altitude and care produce exceptional coffee, but for us at EA it is so much more than the coffee itself. We start there and it has to be good, really good speciality coffee, but its the heart of farmers like Francisco and his family that makes the difference. The desire for a proper, fair trading relationship, a friendship, and then their care and attention for the coffee, the environment, and the ten families they support year-round. We loved this visit – and the first crop should be with us early 2024.
The small region of Gacheta-Junin, north east of Bogota, is separated by a river whereby half is accessible by road and the other completely cut off. So to get coffee from one side to another they need donkeys to transport coffee sacks down to the river where it is then hoisted across on what can loosely be described as a tray on cable, even if the river is raging. It’s mad!!!
Other highlights involved walking up to Alfonso’s farm with him at over 1800masl, and drinking coffee on Dora’s farm.
This is a community with great coffee, and we think we can help build a sustainable relationship to improve income over time, and help invest in a nursery to improve the quality and robustness of saplings for new crops. Watch this space as plans unfold over the next few years.
I’ve been doing this more than 15 years, hunting good coffee and communities to work with. The normal 3+ hours of winding bumpy roads. The normal characters. The normal stories and experiences. The normal beautiful individuals and families. The normal happy welcome. Yet none of it is normal. Its exceptional. And after more than 15 years it is still special, emotional, exciting and rewarding. I love what we do, and I love that we can do business this way, challenging the status quo of me me me, take take take, to share the journey; to be honest, fair and put relationships first. To want the best for those we work with not just for ourselves. Coming back and reflecting . . . .
Firstly, great coffee doesn’t just happen it takes knowledge, learning, and dedication to produce and consistently produce from farm to cup. That’s why we love the connections and relationships we make for the whole process; the constant learning we do; and of course the end result. It’s teamwork. From the farmer, to the roaster, to the barista we all have an important role to play.
Secondly, there is so much power in business to do good. I hope we can continue to challenge ourselves to keep doing better, doing more, and taking both our social and environmental responsibilities to new levels. But also challenging the status quo of business in general to be about more than just profit. We love what we do, we love the impact we can have, the relationships we make, and the fun we have along the way.