Well these weeks are flying by! I can’t believe I’ve already been in Colombia for a month. It’s been a wonderful month full of adventure and drinking lots of amazing coffee. This month has been more focused on finding the best local roasters and getting settled in this area. I’m here for another month and will start branching out and start visiting some farms in the next upcoming weeks. I have tons of videos and photos from this month that I haven’t had time to put up yet, so I’m going to break this up into two parts; centered on two different weekend trips I went on. This first one is about Guatapé
The first adventure was to a town about 2 hours from Medellin called Guatapé. It’s a tiny town that has these beautifully vibrant colored walls, and a manmade lake. But what makes this place notable is this huge 656 foot rock called El Peñol de Guatapé, that sits next to the lake. It’s the strangest sight, let me tell you. There nothing else around that looks like it, the surrounding landscape is just rolling hills of farmland and out in the middle of nowhere there’s this huge singular rock has more prominence (the amount of the mass that is above the surrounding surface) than Missouri’s tallest mountain, Taum Sauk Mountain (512 ft. of prominence). There’s a huge crack on the side of this rock, and they just built a crisscrossing stairway of 650 steps to the top.
This pesky little lock also has a fun little village drama story as well. El Peñol de Guatapé is the name of the two towns that share ownership of this rock: El Peñol & Guatapé. For years though, these two towns have been fighting for right call the rock singularly theirs, as both have claims that it falls within their city limits. At one point, some of the people from Guatapé decided to try out the “possession is 9/10 of the law” adage and scaled the side of the rock to paint “GUATAPE” in huge letters. Unfortunately for them, word got out about these shenanigans (not like it really needed Sherlock Holmes though, There’s now a huge 50ft “G” that just appeared). A large mob from El Peñol emerged and shut the whole operation down. So now there’s just a huge G & and an incomplete “U” painted on the side of the rock. The only part of the “U” that was painted was the first vertical line, so it actually looks like there’s just a huge “GI” on the side.
The Lakeside Villa
The villa we rented out for the night was SPECTACULAR! I feel like I say that a lot in these posts, and while the one back in Lake Atitlán was amazing, this house destroyed that one. Nothing will beat the sunrises and the views at Lake Atitlán, but this house was bigger, with a nicer living space, and it had a pool! The pool house was so big, that the bunk beds were queen sized! I was one of the last people to arrive, and had to take a top bunk, but when it’s that big, I can’t say there was a loser’s bed in the whole house.
We also rented a jet ski, and I got to take it out for about 10 minutes. I’ve never driven one myself before, and now I get it. My two biggest draws for accumulating personal wealth were to having my own library and having a personal chef. Now I’ll have to add jet ski to that list.
The next day, I put on my Coffee Skillshare for the whole group. I learned from my previous Skillshare I did back in Guatemala, and mapped out a structured outline for my narrative, but most importantly I provided an experience that was sure to make people to never see coffee the same way again. I brought out three types of coffee for everyone to try: first was a washed processed coffee from Antigua, Guatemala. It was a very smooth and fruity tasting coffee. Next was a Natural Process coffee from Medellin, Colombia, that had this really unique taste to it, in that it had these earthy lemony notes. But just in case they couldn’t really tell the difference, or perhaps appreciate the quality of the coffee I was presenting, I then sent around a cup of Starbucks Antigua Medium Roast coffee. I didn’t even have to look for where the Starbucks Coffee was; I could hear the reaction of disgust as it made its way around the group. I even had to clarify that there was absolutely nothing different in the brewing process from the other coffees that I sent around. I was told repeatedly that I ruined Starbucks for them. With that change in perspective, I then went on to explain the journey that the coffee takes from going from plant to brew, and the impact our consumption decisions has on the lives of those who make their living farming coffee.
Before we left, we all ended up watching the instant classic Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles Final between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. They were well into the fourth set when I started the the Skillshare, but when we all went back to the TV, the match was still going on! I wish Federer won, but it was an incredible match to watch, and I know basically nothing about Tennis.
The Tree Podcast
This skillshare actually opened the opportunity to be a guest interview on Jordan Flagel’s podcast “Tree Podcast” where we talked about sustainability issues regarding coffee production, and how “Shade Grown” coffee is not only environmentally rejuvenating, but also helps improve coffee quality as well. You can listen to it here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-tree-podcast-random-rantings-on-science-philosophy/id1338913202?l=es&i=1000445098771