Okay, first things first. WARNING: This may be like the cheese disclosure in its controversy and disbelief. I had my first cup of coffee today. I mean for real, today is the first time I’ve ever drunk coffee. My parents were tea drinkers, there was no coffee in the house. I didn’t drink hot beverages until I started my first job out of business school and began drinking tea. While Ellen and Ben both love coffee, it just never had appeal to me. But when we booked our trip to Colombia, I promised Ellen I would drink coffee on our coffee tour. So, I did.
First we had a 3 hour drive to Jardín, with a guide and driver again from Medellín Travels. The city of Jardín is a colorful colonial town. We enjoyed seeing the Basilica Menor, it was stone and spectacular.
Throughout the town were colorful houses.
After lunch at a small restaurant, we took the gut punching ride up an unpaved road to the coffee farm. We were greeted by the farmer, who immediately prepared coffee for us.
I drank the coffee at first black and found it a little bitter. With some organic sugar cane, it was pretty good. I even had another 1/2 a cup!.
The farmer then put us to work picking coffee cherries. We learned that it takes 2 years for a coffee tree to bear fruit. And at 8 years, the tree has grown too tall to harvest and is cut down.
We then went to see the cherries get processed, removing the fruit to get to the bean. It was mesmerizing to watch!
Next, the beans are dried in the sun, taking about 7 days. They then ship the beans to a cooperative and take some of them into town to roast so they can sell directly. We bought 500g for about $6.50. The farmer was warm and enthusiastic, helping Ellen climb down the slippery slopes to get to the coffee trees.
One of the most interesting things we have learned is that Colombians, while proud of the coffee they grow, are not that into drinking coffee and mostly drink instant. Coffee culture is coming now to Medellín, but mostly to please tourists.
It was then a 3 hour trip back to Medellín. We had dinner at a Colombian restaurant recommended by our Pablo tour guide, Hacienda. It was simple and quiet and a fine way to end the day.