A few days after visiting Duver Rojas at his beautiful farm in Huila, we drove 10-12 hours North-West in to the Tolima region. We arrived in the city Planadas located in the heart of the Andean mountains. This area is different than Huila. Planadas was in the center of the prolonged civil unrest that for many years stunted the areas development.
However, in that past 10 years they seem to have leap frogged over a lot of the traditional coffee growing regions and have hit the specialty market running. Land here is much cheaper, which translates to bigger farms and since this area in many ways has been left untouched, they are able to grow organically right away. The terrain is mountainous, and the nature resembles a cultivated and fertile rainforest. Diverse plants and tress covers the steep and hilly grounds and bugs, birds and other animals live here in abundance – which is good sign of a healthy ecosystem.
The Enciso family has always been involved in coffee. Both the father, Wilson Rodriguez and his wife Edith Enciso grew up in traditional Colombian coffee growing families. Later, they got their own land, and with their son, Wilson Eduardo, they started producing coffee.
When you first arrive, you are met by two vigorous green mountains. Around the two mountains runs a clear, rippling river. Each of these mountains have separate coffee fields; one is called Villa Sofia and belongs to the son, the other is called Lusitania and belongs to the father. At the foot of the mountain the river connects creating a small island in the valley. Here, the mother has her farm, which conveniently is named La Isla.
This is a very unique family constellation which we find extremely fascinating. Though, we buy coffee from each of the family’s three farms under the name Enciso, they will compete in the Cup of Excellence with their own separate coffees. A few years back, the mother won with her La Isla.
The water that trickles down from the mountains and surrounds La Isla, is used to process their coffee at the wet mill. The mill is separated i three stories; pulping, fermentation and water treatment at grand level, cherry hopper and first-stage-drying og the first level and second-stage-drying-bed on the top. Everything is organised and cataloged and even though this is the first year, we have bought coffee from the Enciso family, we are already very impressed by the high quality.
When we visited Duver Rojas, he showed us the different shade trees on his farm. Like Duver, the Enciso’s are determined to preserve as much of the wilderness as possible. Mainly because of the importance of biodiversity and also because of the trees’ several great attributes that contributes to the wellbeing of their crop. On their farms you’ll find shade trees like Moringo, Higuillo, Cachingo and Higueron. When the coffee trees are exposed to shade it not only gives more energy to the crop, when the foliage drops an provides nitrogen to the soil, but also extends the time it takes the coffee cherry to ripen, which adds a build up of sugars and helps create more complexity. This is one of the reasons why the Wilson family can offer a lovely, organic coffee.
The trees listed above is some of the same trees we found on Duver Rojas’ farm. Learn about their different functions here.