10 Questions for the Son of a Coffee Producer
Jaime Andres Casallas is the son of Jaime Casallas Sr.. Jaime Andres is young man full of ideas. He has recently been re-elected to be the president of El Desarollo, which is the local coffee association all of the Huila farmers that we work with are a part of. He wants to make coffee farming interesting for younger people and is always trying to showcase the benefits of moving your production in a more quality-based direction.
He attends the university program that El Desarollo provides to all its members. It’s a program where you can learn about coffee; from new farming practices and business to roasting and being a barista. He says, he wants to learn about all the steps, to better understand the people he is working with and also understand what happens to his produce after it leaves the farm.
He is slowly taking over more and more of the family farm and will eventually take completely over, when Jaime Sr. is ready to retire.
He has many ideas for the future and has through the last few years been testing new varieties on the farm to see how they respond in their soil and later on our cupping table. This year he has started planting an area of pink bourbon fro the last three years he and his father have been building up two bigger lots of single varieties: one Tipica and one Geisha.This year we get to serve the geisha for the first time and its pretty exciting.
To get a better understanding of this young coffee producer, we thought we would conduct a small interview with 10 basic questions that could give us some insight.
And here it is:
Q1: How long have you lived on this farm?
“We moved here when I was 7. Now I’m 32, so 25 years”.
Q2: What was it like growing up on a coffee farm?
“It was hard when we first moved here. We moved from another farm, where everything was destroyed from Broca, so we had nothing to begin with when we started El Padro – only debt.
But as a kid you don’t notice those things. I was close to my family and neighbours and had time for school and play, so I didn’t share my parents’ concerns”.
Q3: Did you always want to work with coffee?
“No. I finished school at 16 and my teachers had always told me to go to the city and start at university, but we couldn’t afford that. So I started working at the farm, doing everything except growing coffee – I was afraid I was going to get stuck. But my father pulled me in and showed me the ropes and I quickly gained interest in coffee. Now 16 years later I have completed classes at CENA, both agriculture and roasting, and I’m now the President of El Desarollo”.
Q4: Why did you attend a roasting class as a farmer?
“As a member of El Desarollo you get the opportunity to attend these classes and I wanted to know more about the final part of the coffee chain. I also wanted to encourage young people to get involved and find a passion in coffee”.
Q5: What is the plan?
“Well, I got re-elected as President of El Desarollo, which means three more years doing that. But most importantly, I want to keep working here at our family farm. Growing coffee is what I am most passionate about”.
Q6: Do you cup?
“I taste. Before I was elected President of Desarollo I used to have more time to do it. Back then I regularly cupped with Joana Melo and got to a point where I could recognise our coffees on the table”.
Q7: If you had to name one thing, what is your favourite thing about coffee?
“Everything. But if I had to boil it down, it would be: a cup of coffee. It’s the fruit of our labour and it’s what every process builds up to”.
Q8: What do you do when you don’t do coffee?
“… Read, play soccer, hang out with my girlfriend and explore sensory experiences”.
Q9: Three things on a deserted island
“A book – probably A hundred years of solitude, my girlfriend and fire.
Q10: Where are you in 5 years?
“Still working here. Hopefully started a family. Seeing the results of our projects: Geisha, Pink Bourbon, Tipica and of course the warehouse, which is part of our expansion plans for our infrastructure here at the farm.
Fully sustainable practices and zero debt”.