Now this how you wake up.
We arrived at Hacienda Venecia, a coffee farm 25km from Manizales, after dark.
So it was only after a restful night’s sleep that we could take in the amazing view from the patio’s comfy hammocks. This was supplemented by the free espresso’s made from the finest Colombian beans fresh off the farm, which we obviously wasted no time in taking complete advantage of.
We had a busy morning ahead discovering all that sets Colombian coffee apart, separating your natural arabica from your washed arabica, sorting quality beans, taking in the varied aroma’s and learning about the farm’s in tense production process.
He has been designed to represent all that is Colombian but, unfortunately, was the brainchild of New York marketers in the 1960’s who mistakenly found probably the only Cuban in the coffee district as their model. Today being Juan Valdez is a full time job requiring numerous advert roles and appearances around the world. The onerous role has been passed down to a few lucky Colombians through the years and we’re told competition is stiff amongst hopefuls who often have to line up in mustache-measuring contests likened by our tour guide to the swimsuit section of Miss Universe.
Fortunately for us coffee beans require lots of direct sunlight, which we were also able to enjoy in the pool sampling some of the local beer.
They also require lots of rain. We were treated to one of the regions’s epic thunder storm (which I’m afraid to say leave Jozi’s high veld thunderstorms completely in the dust). I-phones were on the ready documenting the dramatic lightening …. Before we settled in with red wine as one is almost duty bound to do when it comes to seeing out a storm.
Suffice to say we survived and managed to get away with only 31 bags of coffee between the 8 of us, including one non-coffee drinker and a long-term traveller unable to fit anymore stuff in her luggage.