Recently our Head of Operations, Jinyu Wang, took to the road with our partners from Five Senses Coffee to explore the mountains and farms of Colombia; here's his story.
'Good people make great coffee'
With Elias Roa on his farm - producer to consumer
'On one of the many long drives through the Colombian mountains, Jacob shared with me this revelation of his. Jacob Ibarra is the Coffee Director of Five Senses, and he has been working directly with farmers/producers/importers for years. Recently, I was lucky enough to accompany Jacob and Felipe Arcila, the Co-founder of Cofinet, on an intensive two-week origin trip around the Popayan, Pitalito, Huila and Armenia regions of Colombia. Travelling with these two giants, I had the privilege of experiencing first-hand the workings of the Colombian specialty coffee supply chain.
Coffee cherries post harvest, these have been left on the trees to ripen until April's harvest
Arriving post harvest, we visited numerous reputable farms and mills, and tasted countless cups of outstanding coffees. In recent years, Colombian farmers and producers have given more attention to specialty coffee and this was reflected in the coffees we tasted - I was constantly being blown away by the amazing taste profiles of the local coffee with each round of cupping.
These beans had sprouted at the side of road having been casually discarded after a tasting, just shows how fertile these lands are for coffee growing
Even with all these great coffees being produced, there is no resting on their laurels as these farmers and producers constantly initiate experiments to better their product. From trying different processing methods, to planting and developing new varietals and hybrids (pink bourbon, maracaturra, mokka, sudan rume and - try shouting this out loud - wush wush). It was exhilarating and inspiring to be in the presence of their constant pursuit towards excellence.
Beautiful beans drying after being washed
Looking back in the course of journey, there would be many a time where I would be overloaded with information. I think this only holds testament to how much goes on behind the scenes to produce a quality cup, as well as how much more there is to come. I look on in anticipation towards sharing these amazing coffees with you for this upcoming harvest and possibly for years to come!
Ready for export
On a personal note I would just like to say thank you to Jacob and Felipe for being ever so transparent with all their knowledge and to the coffee people whom I met along the way for their openness to sharing.'
You can read more about this trip from Jacob Ibarra's post on Five Senses' website.