After a busy week in the region of Huila and a couple of days in the amazing desert of Tatacoa, we finally reached the region of Tolima. As that region is a little more recent, the practices of organic farming are way more developed. The demand for organic produce in Denmark is very high and as a company, we focus on sustainable practices. Therefore, we were very excited to explore that area and meet new producers that share our vision.
Nolberto Olaya is one of them. A father of five, his eldest children are involved at the farm on different levels, and he runs the plantation using biodynamic practices.
As soon as we arrived, two things blew me away, one being the stunning fauna and flora of the surroundings, the second being the man’s energy. Nolberto doesn’t walk, he runs! Like real tourists we were all covered by mosquitoes’ bites, the first thing Nolberto did was to run a few steps further to pick up an Aloe Vera leaf for us to spread on our skin! After a warm welcome from Wilfried his son, who brewed some coffee for us in his small laboratory, we began the farm tour.
I was extremely excited as one of his coffees scored the highest on the cupping table the day before. A fun fact is that this coffee was an experimentation done by his 17-year-old boy (honey process Geisha) and by far the best coffee I’ve tried on that adventure. Beyond the amazing quality and the unique aromas of the beans, it is extremely rare nowadays to see the young generation being involved and excited about working at the farm.
Through the visit and the explanation of every single step of the process on biodynamic practices, I quickly understood that Nolberto had a very specific lifestyle where he was able to be self-sufficient for the whole family by reusing, creating or transforming any given goods from mother nature to fill deficiencies in the chain.
We hiked to the top of the hill, which overlooked 11 acres of land and the 24,500 trees. The view was spectacular! Further up, Nolberto showed us, how he has dedicated one acre of the farm to a reserve, where nature can grow its own way and attract a wild range of different animal species. The oldest daughter is in charge of listing all the species and studying the impact that the reserve has on the eco-system. As a tradition to any visitor, Nolberto had me plant a coffee tree named after myself.
I very much respect and admire people living for their passion, not only passing on skills to the next generation but doing so with excitement and a purpose to leave the world a better place. It truly was an honour and a grateful feeling to have a tiny bit of my labour in that soil.
The B Corp Certification which we recently received highlighted how important it is for us to build strong relations with people like Olaya's family. After a couple of interviews, it was already time for us to leave. On our way to the car, Nolberto gifted us four huge blocks of Panella straight out of his own little sugar cane factory located a few meters down the road.
The core of our company is to explore exceptional coffee experiences across the globe and I do believe that Nolberto’s one is a great example.