Lots of people in Colombia make coffee.
When Will’s in the country on sourcing trips, he’s even often stopped by police who ask him to visit family members’ farms. It’s well known that if they sell speciality coffee to us, they can make good money.
In fact, he was once recommended a farm by a mayor of a Colombian town. And when you go for dinner with a mayor, it’s difficult to say no – but that’s a story for another time!
With such a lot of hunting to do to discover the very best farmers in the country, many importers opt to go straight to big, well-off producers, buy large quantities of coffee and sell it on to the US, Europe or Asian market.
This means that much of the gold-standard beans go undiscovered – and there’s value to be found for the patient prospector!
That’s why our policy is to find farmers who don’t have access to this traditional supply chain, form long-term, mutually beneficial relationships, change lives and bring this best-of-the-best coffee to Pact customers.
One such farmer is Jorge Eliécer Rodríguez Sánchez, who Will met in the finals of a competition in 2014. At these competitions, Will cups huge amounts of coffee – and Jorge’s stood out from the pack. It soon became a real hit on the Pact menu.
This year was the first time Will had visited the farm, La Cuadra, since 2018, although we’ve continued to buy the coffee over the four years.
Jorge was very happy to show him the improvements he’d made to the farmhouse thanks to the premium he receives for his coffee. He’d refitted the bedroom, put new windows in, added an en suite and painted the whole place.
But what really caught Will’s eye was the fertiliser.
It may sound unromantic, but Jorge’s sustainable approach makes a huge difference. He allows the coffee cherries to completely decompose, creating a fertliser that’s great for the trees.
Right now, due to the war in Ukraine, fertiliser prices are six times as expensive as usual and are a significant cost to farms.
Unfortunately, it looks like the price isn’t going to decrease any time soon, so this approach is vital to the longevity of La Cuadra – an invention we completely support.