Coffee Triangle of Colombia
Jesus Martin grew up in the Santa Ana Valley, known as the Coffee Triangle of Colombia – on a coffee farm owned by his father and grandfather. He is seen as the man who is changing Colombia’s coffee scene. His optimism is as contagious and addictive as the coffee he produces.
Despite growing some of the most coveted beans in the world, most Colombians have never even tasted the Colombian coffee that is renowned around the world. Instead, locals drink what they call “second-hand coffee”. Like most businesses in struggling economies, the farmers only make profits on exports – so they save their best produce for higher paying buyers.
Martin’s dream project, however, was to turn this process around, bringing specialty coffee back to Colombia.
Even with his background in farming, starting the project from the ground up was difficult. Convincing his workers to focus on quality was his biggest obstacle; most only cared about quantity since their wage was dependent on how many beans they picked.
Once the farmers understood the importance of quality, the next step was to, bring the roasting process in-house, he bought his own roaster and although expensive, the purchase offered a huge saving in roasting, packaging and exporting costs.
By 2008, his passion started to pay off; he opened his flagship store Café Jesus Martin in the charming town of Salento. The shop and its team of trained baristas, Martin said, has done much to teach the locals about enjoying specialty coffee.
Because of this interest, each bag of coffee sold in the vibrantly painted cafe has three distinct markings: the name of the coffee farm; the farmer who produced it; and the date it’s best enjoyed by. For Martin, this connects the locals to the farmers around them.
Reproduced from the BBC leisure page