Colombia Coffee Farm

Coffee People

By: Listel Bjorck, Sr. Product Manager, Dutch Bros. Coffee

The deeper you go into the world of coffee, the more you fall in love. This love most certainly hits you the hardest when you experience coffee at its beginning – its origin, alongside the communities who produce it. Of course, it’s hard to mention coffee without talking about Colombia. Its distinctive geography makes Colombia perfectly suited for producing a beautiful and top-tier quality cup of coffee.

In October of {this year / 2021}, the Dutch Bros Origins Team traveled to Antioquia, a mountainous municipality in northwestern Colombia. The main purpose of this trip was to visit Dutch Bros’ coffee-growing communities and project-funded areas and to further strengthen our partner relationships in Colombia. Part of this work would not have been possible without the support and partnership of both TWP Tours and Carcafé, Dutch Bros’ export partner in Colombia.

Coffee farmers in Vereda Chagualal, Abejorral. Accompanied by the Dutch Bros. team, Carcafé staff, and TWP Tours staff.

This trip was special. At every point, no matter who you were sitting or talking with, it felt like family. There were emotional moments. One in particular that has stuck with me was the visit to Finca La Toma, a small multigeneration farm run by mother and daughter team, Silvia and Claudia Hincapie. From the moment of our arrival, you could feel the humbleness and sense of community here were profound. We were there to see phase 2 of our project in action – food security at the farm. What has emerged from this arm of the project are “grocery gardens”. In an effort to become more self-sufficient, families are now equipped with the knowledge and means to grow their own food. It also provides another stream of revenue. The most impactful, however, was what the members of the community shared with our team – that once they understood the right foods to grow and how to cook with them, the healthier their eating habits became. Produce otherwise is normally purchased in town, which for some can mean an entire day’s travel on foot or horseback. Grocery gardens have proved beneficial in so many capacities.

Coffee producer Claudia Hincapie, showing her coffee parchment drying.

What moved me about this farm visit was simple: everyone here was working together, hearing each other, helping each other, learning from each other; because it wasn’t just one farmer on her farm, it was a community working in numbers. In between sweet conversations you could walk in any direction and take in the stunning view of the fertile valley below. After the farm tour and delicious home-cooked lunch, we talked about current challenges on the farm, positive changes already taking place, and hopeful opportunities for the future. Everyone left perfectly full that day.

Working in coffee means you’re in the relationship business. It’s the people throughout coffee’s entire supply chain that make it complete. It starts with the producers at origin who dedicate their lives to the health and quality of their trees, it is further nurtured through our import and export partners, providing technical assistance and finding areas for continued growth, and it continues to evolve through new partners like TWP, who make trips like these feel so fluid and effortless to pull off.

Dutch Bros is continuing to build and nourish relationships across all our partners in Colombia and we’re so dang excited to see what’s next.

Until then, salud.

Coffee Farmer Fransisco Medina showing his grocery garden on his farm!

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