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Inspiring Visit to Finca La Florida in Colombia

09 March 2017
by Cloe
bean member

Our journey to Finca La Florida was a long but rewarding one. At 4:30am we were checking into our flight from Bogota, Colombia, to Neiva where a driver would pick us up to start the 3.5 hour journey through the breathtakingly beautiful rolling hills of Colombia – destination, Huila, Acevedo, La Marimba.

Finca La Florida is owned and operated by Huila born farmer Gilberto Rojas Mosquera, winner of Columbian Cup of Excellence in 2015. An accolade that has earned him Rock Star status in his local town with many small businesses proudly displaying framed photos and articles of him on their walls.

My Spanish is below average so I was relieved when Gilberto’s third oldest son Diego skipped his daily English lesson to show us around his family’s estate.

We spoke of his budding barista career and the joy he gets from brewing the perfect cup of coffee. As we drove to his fathers farm he spoke of his family’s history, pointing out his uncle’s farms which flanked either side of La Florida, creating a community tied together by generations with a love and knowledge of coffee at its core.

Arriving on the farm Gilberto took over the tour showing us Castillo, Tabi, Caturra and Pink Bourbon and the processes he implements, the most unique of which being that he uses a Brix Meter for every batch. For those that don’t know, a brick meter is a device that measures the sugar levels in coffee. The amount of sugar in the coffee directly corresponds to the ripeness of the cherry and therefore how long the coffee should be left to ferment to achieve the perfect cup profile.

As the tour of the farm came to an end, Diego had one final thing to show me. He took me to the family’s veggie patch where he pulled back a hessian cloth and exposed a small nursery of coffee seeds. Here he looked at me sincerely and spoke history’s most powerful words “I have a dream…” He spoke of his dreams to introduce natural and honey processing methods onto his father’s farm and to begin experimenting with rare varietals, pushing the boundaries of coffee production in a sustainable manner. The symbolism of standing next to a budding crop of coffee plants wasn’t lost on me.

Now I’ve only just started my personal coffee journey, I’m learning more and more each day but as we pulled out of Finca la Florida to begin our long journey back to Bogota I knew one thing for certain, that this particular farm, and if I might be so bold to say the future of the sustainable specialty coffee industry would be safe in the hands of this 19 year old dreamer, Diego Mosquera.