You may have heard of Huila, a region situated in western Colombia as part of the Andean mountains. This region is renowned for its coffee and farming practices. In the mountains of Huila, we find the Casallas family farm, Fincas el Prado. The mother Olimpa Casallas Torrés the father Don Jaime Casallas and their son Jaime Andres Casallas all take part in running the small yet beautiful farm.
The farm is located in a valley and the coffee fields stretch from their house at the bottom and all the way up the mountainsides. There’s a 30-degree angle on the side of the mountains, so it is very steep, nevertheless, every inch of land is planted with coffee trees and other vegetation. Beautiful green vegetation in a 100 different shades scattered across the mountain. It’s breathtaking, however it does make maintenance a lot harder and the risk of landslides is something they’re always aware of.
At their farm, you’ll mostly find Caturra, but they have a wide variety of other coffee varietals like Typica, Geisha, Java and Colombia. The Casallas’ are very meticulous with their processing, which results in a coffee with a delicate acidity and a sweet, balanced body.
A new variety the Casallas’ recently planted is the intense yet elegant Pink Bourbon. Their crop is very new, which means the output is still very modest. To our luck and amazement, the son Jaime did manage collect a small batch for us to roast and test at their coffee lab in the main city Gigiante. Here, Jaime joined us for a cupping of the different coffees. It is pretty rare to do a cupping where the farmer participates, and it was a great experience to cup together with Jaime and directly discuss flavour notes and give feedback.
Jaime told us that they first started planting the Pink Bourbon in 2017, which means it’s still too small of a yield to sell for production. He agreed with us that it still needs some improvement to enhance the cleanliness in the taste. We could however all see great potential, and it tasted of lemon tea and sugarcanes, which is completely different from what they normally produce.
We have sourced coffee from this farm for 5 years in a row now. We visit these wonderful people every year to maintain a good relationship and talk about the harvest – past, present and future.
If you had the chance to meet a farmer in specialty coffee, what would you ask him? Keep that question in mind, as Jaime Casallas will visit us for change, in the first week of May.
You now, have a unique chance to drink a cup of coffee with Jaime while talking about the taste, the harvest and what it means to be a farmer in Colombia. Go to our event page on Facebook to RSVP to the events.