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One of Colombia’s most famous crops (no, not that one!)

Colombia day five

View Colombia 2023 on ToonSarah's travel map.

Hat worn at the coffee farm

Once the chilly bed in our 'aviary' warmed up I slept well and woke soon after six to lie and enjoy the sight of the surrounding trees and the sounds of birds.


Our room in daylight

Breakfast was a choice from a menu rather than a buffet, and I found the waffles I chose rather salty, although the other items (fresh fruit, bread, arepas) were good.

We met up with today's guide, Juan-Paolo, and driver Armando for a morning touring a coffee farm. The farm lay about an hour's drive to the north along a good road with some lovely views alternating with busy towns.

Coffee farm

Arriving at the farm, where Juan-Paolo told us he used to work, we were served a cup of coffee. This was a big improvement on our breakfast coffee, but perhaps not the transformative experience Juan-Paolo would have us believe. Big claims are made for the quality of the coffee in Colombia, and in particular its smoothness. And it's true that it is good, and smooth, but maybe I prefer a slightly bitter edge?

Anyway after enjoying our coffees we were encouraged to don lightweight ponchos worn in different styles according to our gender, straw hats and small baskets, the latter tied around our waists with string. We then went to see a display of coffee bushes at different stages in their development, from seedling to ready to plant out. Next we visited a coffee bean drying area where Juan-Paolo told us probably more than we'll ever need to know about the different ways of treating the bean to produce a different style of coffee!

Typical landscape at the farm

The short flight up, and the view looking back

Then we started our walk through the coffee farm itself. There was a long flight of steps down and a shorter climb up. On either side of this first stretch of the path we saw bamboo (which grows really well around here and is used a lot in construction and crafts), a variety of bushes and lots of flowers. Among the coffee bushes too we saw lots of different plants. Juan-Paolo explained that these were planted as part of the biodiversity approach of the farm. For instance, they could monitor the condition of the hibiscus as they would show signs of disease or infestation before the coffee bushes were affected.



Flowers on the farm

And a dragonfly

As we went Juan-Paolo encouraged us to pick any red coffee berries we could find, to drop into our baskets. But I found myself more interested in photographing the flowers and views, so I was glad when he topped my supply with his own gatherings, as he did for Chris too.

At the end of the walk we came to a stone building, outside which was a manual machine for separating the berry from the bean inside. Inside the building a young woman whom Juan-Paolo introduced as Maria was roasting some beans over a fire. She then ground them and made coffee using a cloth filter, the traditional method here.

Maria roasting the beans, and making the coffee

That was our second coffee of the tour and very smooth. As with the first, Juan-Paolo encouraged us to sip and taste, sip and taste, explaining that with each subsequent sip we would be able to taste a different aspect of the coffee. I wasn't convinced, but I enjoyed the drink!

From here we followed the rough road the relatively short distance back to our starting point. On the way I spotted a beautiful little bird, bright yellow, which Juan-Paolo told us was a Saffron Finch.

The Saffron Finch

We finished with our third coffee, this time an iced one - very welcome as it was a warm day and I was hot from the walk, but rather unusual in that it was made from coffee and lemonade. It was better than that sounds, and very refreshing, but I think I'd have preferred a regular iced coffee. However don't think I'm complaining; any morning with three coffees has to be a good one!

A stormy afternoon

We drove back to our hotel, arriving around two. We didn’t feel any need for lunch after a big breakfast, the coffees and the plantain crisps Juan-Paolo had bought for the journey. I had planned on washing my hair but there was a power cut which seemed to affect the water pressure so I decided to wait until later. Instead we went up to the main building to sit and enjoy the view while sorting photos and have a cold drink in due course.

Looking out from the restaurant

We’d been there about half an hour when we heard rumbles of thunder. Next, a few large drops of rain fell, and we decided to take a table inside to order those drinks. And just in time as the heavens opened and we were treated to an hour or more of torrential rain! It was rather pleasing to be inside watching it while enjoying our drinks and chatting to the English girl at the next table who had just arrived from Cartagena. Even when the power returned, the storm continued. The staff were kept busy not only serving guests but also mopping the floor in patches where the rain was finding a way in. And one poor guy had the unenviable task of going out in the downpour to lower the sunshades, presumably because they were at risk of blowing away. He was drenched before he'd finished the first one! In a very nice touch, one waiter came around all the tables with a bottle of local spiced rum, offering shots as a sort of apology from the hotel. And even though we weren’t blaming the hotel in the slightest for the weather, of course we accepted! And very good it was too, warming with a flavour of cloves.

Eventually the weather dried up enough for us to go back to our room where we found the internet working so could catch up on messages.

In the evening we had dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, being too far from town here to eat out easily anywhere else. In any case it was a good choice. The hotel prides itself on its slow food approach and use of local products. We started with a shared plate of mushroom croquettes, made with yucca. I then had the squid ink ravioli, as it was stuffed with the trout for which this area is well known – and it was delicious. I couldn’t resist a piece of banana cake for dessert, especially as it came with fig ice cream and a pepper toffee sauce!

Posted by ToonSarah 15:56 Archived in Colombia Tagged rain flowers hotel storm farm coffee colombia

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I like the sound of trout ravioli. I love trout. It rains torrentially like that in Hong Kong too. You can be drenched instantly in summer here.

by irenevt

The ravioli was delicious Irene, made with squid ink pasta and in a lovely sauce :)

by ToonSarah

I don't know if I could have made my self to leave the room at all, it is so pretty!
Albeit your itinerary for the day was interesting so maybe I could have :)
Coffee and lemonade, that does sound a bit peculiar :)

by hennaonthetrek

The coffee and lemonade was nicer than it sounds, but not as nice as good coffee WITHOUT lemonade

by ToonSarah

For a not so enthousiastic coffee drinker, I would have a go for it! Sounds like you guys had an interesting day!

by Ils1976

It was interesting and worthwhile for the views and flowers even if you're not so keen on coffee :)

by ToonSarah

I'll keep that in mind!

by Ils1976

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