In March 2014 Hunter Bay traveled to Medellin Colombia to establish a new partnership with a coffee company growing excellent specialty coffee. Since this trip we have purchased and have now began roasting this great coffee from Oro Molido Farms outside Medellin Colombia. We are now for a limited time offering this coffee in local shops and on our website! This is a glance at our experience in Colombia seeing these great coffee farms.
I flew into Medellin Colombia and they had me horseback within the hour. Strait off the plane onto a horse! I think the last time I had ridden a horse was when I was 12 years old or something. I still managed to take photos while this horse was climbing mountains.
This was my first time seeing coffee in person. It was awesome to finally have made it to another country to experience the coffee growing process first hand. Pictured above is a nursery of coffee seedlings.
I learned that Colombia's climate allows for it's coffee plants to be in all stages of coffee production at ounce. In Colombia the same plant can be in blossom, starting to grow cherries, and having ripe cherries on it all at the same time!
Just within Colombia I got to see many different varieties of great coffee. Yellow Colombia, Colombia, Castillo, and Caturro are some of the varieties pictured. I didn't know coffee could be different colors. Yellow Colombia is the smaller yellow coffee pictured below.
All of the coffee from Colombia is hand picked. It is very important that pickers understand that the coffee should only be picked when the coffee is ripe. They are paid for how much they pick each day so for them, they could get paid more if they just picked everything -green, immature, and ripe, but the coffee doesn't taste as good if they do that.
Coffee processing is now one of my favorite subjects. Being careful during processing, and the processes used, play a critical role in coffee quality. Coffee needs to be processed as soon as it is picked or it becomes over-ripe very quickly. Pictured above is coffee about to be processed and a aqua-pulper at work. The pulper removes the fruit (which is then used in composting) and exposes the coffee seeds for washing and drying.
This is a mechanical dryer that dries the coffee after it has been pulped and washed. The coffee is dried until it reaches 11.5% water content. At this point it still has one more layer that must be milled off before it can be roasted and brewed. Above is coffee in parchment after being dried.
The machine pictured above is a huller. It cuts off the final parchment layer and prepares the coffee for it's final stage before it is ready to be sold to roasters. Also pictured above are coffee beans that have been hulled. You can see that they are different colors (because of water content) and different sizes. The final stage of coffee processing is sorting by size, density, and color. Coffee in Colombia is sorted at a cooperative facility that I did not get to see for lack of time, but I got to see a lot of sorting in Brazil. Our Brazil travel page has details and photos of the sorting process. After sorting coffee is ready for export and roasting.
Getting to see coffee growing and processed was awesome. It was eye opening to better understand how much hard work and attention to detail it takes to make a specialty coffee. We have been using the coffee I traveled to see in many of our blends. It's what makes our Trout Slayer Blend taste great, and it is now available as a single origin in our shop, and on our website!