Photo Essay

The Life of Coffee

Coffee Farm

My trip to the coffee fields almost started as a joke. I told a mate I was going to Colombia and when asked what I was going to do there I blurted out that I was going to make coffee. The idea sounded good as the words left my lips and so I began researching the possibility of working on a coffee farm to make this dream into a reality.

Investigations on the net told me to take a bus from Bogotá to Armenia out in the Colombian Andes and then to travel to the small town of Salento. The farm is called Finca de Don Eduardo and the coffee plants had been pruned down and were flowering. Even so some plants had berries to pick and we dug trenches around them to feed them their organic fertilizers.

The berries go through a machine that scrapes the skins of the beans, I ate a few to see what they tastes like and well they faintly tasted like a sweet coffee. When the skins are off the beans are dried sometimes in the sun but often in commercial sized ovens where the beans loses its moisture and shrinks to a third of its original size.

We then put them through a grinder that only takes off the remaining husks and then we sit and sort out good beans from bad ones and husks. The beans are roaster in large brass pots over a wood stove and this was all done by hand, so about 5 kg of beans takes about three hours of stirring in the pot to be properly roasted.

Then we ground up the freshly roasted coffee - rung it through a cloth filter and enjoyed a fresh cop of Colombia's finest.

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