First Impressions

"El hombre", my phone dictates. "The man", I reply. "Correct! You gained 10xp and reached your daily goal!". Well thank you for the praise, mister smartphone and thank you for the lesson! 

I quickly realized I am a bit late with my Spanish Lessons, English is not spoken by too many people here. Thankfully Juan Pablo is fluent and helps us with our first steps in Colombia. He welcomes us with his father at the Pasto airport after a long day of traveling. Ready for a little lunch, we excited to visit Meko, also a coffee farmer, where part of our team will stay and join in this years harvest. 

After a tour around the farm and a woodfire cooked lunched our group splits up again and we head out to Juan Pablo's farm, another hour and a half full of windy roads and beautiful views. I quickly become aware that the coffee harvest season is already halfway. The concrete gutters and patios are filled with drying coffee, still in their parchment, catching dust and dirt from all the cars, bikes and trucks. But, optimistically, I tell myself that most of that will be cleaned off once the coffee loses it's parchment after hulling. A thing that catches the eye immediately is that all the coffee is dried in very small batches. Realizing that this is reality in a mountainous region where it might be impossible to have very large scale coffee farms. All these nano lots probably just end up together after hulling and give their characteristics of that region through the joint effort of hundreds of small coffee farmers.

After we arrived at Juan Pablo it was clear that he was able to do things slightly different. His coffee farm is big enough to process his own coffee. He gave us a tour and very proudly presented us with his raised drying beds, probably the first once in the region, telling us how This Side Up's bonus was able to finance this project. A very manageable way of achieving a higher coffee quality. The coffee has more airflow around the beans so they have a better chance to dry more evenly and prevent mildew from getting a grasp at it. It also forms a barrier from all the dirt on the floor and all the animals that walk around on the farm.

Juan also processes his own coffee in his own small wet mill. He showed us his new fermentation tanks, "this is the first time we have used them. The year before we weren't able to ferment them, they just went straight through the machine washed of all the fruit and mucilage". This has also been a fruitful result from the bonus This Side Up was able to offer.

Very pleased with all the new experiences and impressions and feeling right at home, we wished everybody good night after dinner. It might be seven 'o clock but all of our eyelids already fall down as we get ready for bed.

"Buenos noches and gracias for the food!!" I say as I walk away from the dinner table. So thank you for those Spanish lessons, dear smartphone, they already came in handy.