This is the second visit we've had to the legendary coffee farm, La Palma y El Tucan. *We'll refer to them as LPyET for the remainder of this posting. Both visits have been extraordinary. The hospitality, the coffee and the scenery were all stunning.
You won't see the first visit detailed on this journal. There's reason for that.
First of all, when we first visited, we wanted to keep it somewhat of a secret as we were planning to use this coffee for the 2017 National Barista Championship. So we didn't want to announce that on all our communication platforms and give the insight as to which coffee we were using. Yes, these coffees are so stunning that we wanted to keep it a total surprise.
Second, the first trip happened so quickly during a total whirlwind in our lives. We were in Brazil, it was late in August and we were intended to fly home to Calgary. Hurricane Harvey was a day or two into it's path through Houston, however, and that was our connecting airport home. Now, because Houston is such a hub, our flight was delayed and we weren't able to get home with the same route for 6 days. Essentially, leaving us stranded in Sao Paulo with no plans... We'd been chatting with Sebastien, the relationship manager at LPyET weeks prior about visiting and purchasing some coffees. We'd also met two or so years prior to that in Bogota. So on a whim, we decided to fly from Sao Paulo to LPyET - this is a decision that's had many, many positive impacts in our careers.
Something we hadn't realized beforehand was the fact that you need proof of Yellow Fever to go from Brazil to Colombia. Which isn't needed to fly from Canada into either of these countries. So we arrived at the airport after a full day of rearranging our lives (this was happening on a Monday and I needed to be in Ottawa for a wedding on Saturday, without using Houston for transit). We nearly weren't allowed on the plane because we didn't have our Yellow Fever cards. Thanks to a great friend, Justin Wong, we were able to get some medical allowances at the last minute and catch our flight. One of the most stressful travel experiences thus far in our coffee career.
Thankfully LPyET is near Bogota, just a quick hour and a half drive. On both of our visits we've spent two days and one night at the farm. It's unbelievable. They've developed a boutique hotel situated on the farm that anyone can book and go through a full seed to cup coffee experience. It's a one of a kind type of offering and we'd recommend signing up for that experience if you're ever in Colombia.
For those of you that aren't aware, in May we used a coffee from LPyET to win the Canadian National Barista Championship. In June, we used two different coffees, also from LPyET to compete in the World Barista Championship, where we finished at 5th place out of 57 countries! So, our visit was intended to celebrate with the team there, and to purchase some fresh coffees from this harvest! We're thrilled to say we purchased a few coffees that should rock your socks when they arrive.
LPyET have a really fascinating project where they purchase the cherry from nearby farms in their region of Cundinamarca, and they send a team to harvest and process the coffees in their wet-mill. They pay these nearby farmers 3x the price that the Colombian government guarantees their crop. Recently, they've also expanded their composting facility to produce larger volumes and to contribute equal ratio of compost to coffee for each farm they purchase from! They are really making a difference in the value of coffee in Cundinamarca and the quality of life for their neighbours!
These coffees are truly outstanding and a beautiful compliment to the high end, exotic coffees they're producing on their own farm, throughout 12 hectares of planted land. Stay tuned for what's to come. We have two coffees from their farm, Geisha and SL28, as well as two coffees from their neighbours! We're excited about it and we think you should be too!