Monday 12 August 2019.
Highlights: Recuca Coffee Farm, Mi Monaco Farm Visit
Today started with nice included breakfast at the beautiful Mi Monaco Estate. The sun shining and the excellent company of the group over breakfast was an ideal start to the day.
The focus today was on our visit to the Recuca Coffee Farm which was about 30 minute drive on our bus away. We were welcome with a heavily sweeten coffee, I’m not a coffee drinker at all but when in Colombia you have to at least try the coffee.
This lead us off on a small walk to learn about coffee both across the world and about Colombia in particular. Our theoretical education completed it was time for the practical. Several members of the group got to try on the uniforms of coffee farm workers, from here all us were handed a bucket and told to go out and find good red coffee beans.
We weren’t allowed to return until we have at least 25 good beans each. This proved difficult being the off season but some managed to find them easily enough, I think I end up with about 40-45 beans but of mixed value. This fifteen minute exercise proved how physically demanding the work can be, we were all hot in a short period of time, farm workers have a very hard job which can go for 10+ hours a day to just break even.
It was then onto costume time as we changed into more traditional attire. Apparently the men about showered or bathed once every 11 days or so and the women every 8 days. The men had to practise how to pee and walk at the same time (not with actually peeing!).
It was then onto tasting real Colombian coffee but this time without the sweeteners. The first coffee of the day was to give us a baseline from more regular coffee to how Colombians (those who can afford it) drink coffee. The Colombian version had a must stronger coffee taste as without sweetener nothing was blocking the taste.
Our trip over we headed but to the estate but with a stop at the Supermarket as several group members need to restock up on alcohol after last night.
In the afternoon I took up the optional working farm visit on the estate. Frank and Sean joined me. This was mostly a walk around the estate learning of farming issue in Colombia. We meet a 72 year old man who still works the farm due to limited access to social security in Colombia. Most of the animals had recently been sold so we only really saw a few cows and some farm dogs.
We need see how they handle palm trees on the farm as they cut a few down during our visit. The rest of the day was relaxing followed by another dinner at the hacienda (estate).