No, it does not rain coffee, as this popular song claims, but nevertheless there is plenty around here in the Zona Cafetera. Even though we visited quite a few coffee plantations in other countries, like Bolivia or on Atiu, Cook Islands, we could not resist joining Tim, or Don Eduardo, as he likes to call himself, our host, on a tour through his new “Finca”. No regrets, he explained with great expertise and enthusiasm every step of the process that it takes to finally enjoy a cup of coffee.
To make it short, after the red or yellow beans are hand-picked in November, they are peeled, soaked, dried and taken to Jesus, the local master in the art of roasting coffee. All work on a coffee plantation is done by hand. Only for peeling the beans a very simple machine is used. For this hard work, 5.5 days a week, local farm hands on Tim’s Finca get minimum wage, $ 220 USD a month, which he claims is not the rule.
Did you know that it takes around 70 coffee beans to make you a decent cup of coffee and that one coffee tree will produce around 0.5 kg of ready to consume coffee?
Okay, one last bit of data – in 2007 Columbia produced 14% of the world’s coffee, which makes it a major player in the coffee market. Unfortunately, the harvest of 2008 has been extremely bad, due to the heavy rain shortly before the harvest.
One idea Tim developed sounds very promising – your very personalized coffee. This idea is based upon a concept already used by wine producers. The customer can lease a minimum of 10 plants. The coffee produced by these plants is harvested and processed separately and then sent to this customer as “his own special coffee”.