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The insistant humming birds stay just out of reach, their hyperactivity seems at odds with the tranquil environs, but, this is not a surprise, we are in the Eje Cafetero and there is a seemingly effortless efficiency about life here.
Perhaps it’s the overdose of caffeine at breakfast in my Coffee Zone Hacienda but I cannot hold still for long enough to focus on these agitated birds and capture a telling photo. But then, maybe it’s not me but the hummingbirds themselves who are on a rush of their own?
Being perhaps the world’s No1 coffee consumer, I felt that no trip to the Eje Cafetero would be complete without a stop at a working coffee farm and the opportunity to taste their samples. I say No1 coffee consumer with no exaggeration, it’s about quantity in my personal case. My day cannot ignite without a cafetière of the black stuff. I like it to be like petrol but with a smoky aroma and oh so flavoursome.
Not that I am a coffee snob, by no means, you got it, I’ll drink it. Just make sure it’s Colombian, fresh, not scalded by boiling water and appropriately prepared.
So, I lie, perhaps my coffee experience should be measured by quantity with a light slant on quality. What a stroke of luck that I live in Colombia.
Anyway, after visiting the Finca Morelia in Quindio, I know that I am by no means the world’s most pretentious coffee snob, and neither am I alone in my convictions.
Beautifully tended coffee plantations unfurl like corn rolls through the fertile Quindiano countryside, the aroma that lingers long is one of toasting beans, and I am in heaven.
We are led through the phases of the coffee producing process, and I am sure that our tour lasts longer than most as between us, my mother, my wife and I, we have plenty of questions. After seeing the drying, the sampling of beans and then the painstaking process of hand selecting the damaged, overripe and immature beans to toss aside, we are starting to get antsy for the next hit.
Fortunately we are led over to where our barista Marisol is preparing samples. I hasten to add that I had never tasted a macchiato before, always feeling a little nervous about ordering one, and this feeling has been exacerbated by a very real fear of having to ask some bohemian barista in Seattle or New York to explain to me that it is an incredibly fortified yet small in stature cappuccino!
The testing is being done. With a spoon we waft the aroma to our noses and then gargle some coffee before spitting it back into a plastic receptacle. Just like wine tasting really.
My mother and I learn that we like a stronger less gourmet version of the roast. My wife Alba, on the other hand, the non-coffee drinker, is shown to have a far more refined taste…a detail about which she reminds us the remainder of our trip to the Eje Cafetero.
Maybe it’s the coffee, but, on my balcony back on the Hacienda, I am certain that the hummingbirds are more daring in their flybys. In fact, my nerves shorn by my momentous caffeine intake leaves me feeling as if buzz bombed by these wonderful if agitated creatures.