This is a unique kind of coffee that has been awarded with the qualification through the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) sampling methodology for special kinds of coffee. It may be the kind of coffee your mouth will taste next. It’s actually the Magdalena microlote (micro-lot), the kind of coffee from Juan de Jesús Torres’ coffee plantation, which surpassed other 33 plantations by 28 coffee growers in four municipalities of colombians region.
Juan was born in Boyacá; he arrived in the Magdalena area 37 years ago and met his wife there, building a family with 7 children. Actually he was one of the smallest coffee growers of the region with a 19 hectares farm that he named ‘Siberia’ after the name of the small town and village located at two hour by moto ride from the Ciénaga (Swamp). This piece of land is at 1,400 m above sea level, and it is the place where he invests all his energy and care on the sole crop of coffee that is picked once a year between November and January. Juan de Jesús’ coffee plantation grows in the shade of guama trees, which has a significant influence because their leaves function as fertilizer; this is a natural resource and is reflected in the quality of this single crop.
Worried by many difficulties, he ended up in the contest without planning it. He filled out the registration under the coaxing from William, one of the workers of the cooperative where he sells his crops; this person told him about the recognition involved and convinced him to participate since his coffee met all the requirements. Juan only hoped for “any old additional peso” he could get and wished for the Federation members to like the sample they would taste.
Juan de Jesús did not have a clear understanding of the contest conditions; also he had doubts about his product classification because he had not done anything different for this crop. Nevertheless, he always thought that “whatever he cultivated and sold, he would do it well done. This excellent beverage consumed all around the world is worked on with honesty, cleanliness, and love.” (You could be interested in: Colombian Coffee Culture Goes across Borders)
When the finalists were called forward and Juan heard his name, he was very frightened for a moment because Profesor Yarumo read the list backwards, he named the winner first and then the second and third places. “I didn’t know what to do. Right away the press came toward me and starting asking what my coffee growing technique was like. That’s when I told them: God is so good that He gave me this”, he recalls.
The prize was a round trip plane ticket to the city of Atlanta, United States, along with the registration to the Special Kinds of Coffee Fair that took place in early April of 2016, where he could exhibit his product. Also, Juan de Jesús got 10 sacks of fertilizer, and Procafecol bought this crop in order to develop a special edition to be sold in Juan Valdez® shops.
“I hadn´t had the privilege to travel in a plane; now I know what it is like, thanks to coffee and to Federación Nacional de Cafeteros, to the cooperative, and to all the people that helped me reach that place”, Juan tells thankfully.
When Juan de Jesús is asked about the significance of his coffee and the flavor of it, he lacks technical words to describe it, but he firmly answers that “this means something very big, that it is the future of his family, of his life; it gives them much more than you can think of as a coffee grower. Its flavor is delicious and balanced; it tastes like chocolate. For that reason it was the winner at the “Magdalena Quality Cup of Coffee”
For this man from Boyacá, the fact that his coffee will reach Juan Valdez® shops means a great deal, and he has no problem telling everyone so, as it happened on his way back to Colombia, “I told a tourist lady: if you have a cup of coffee in one of those shops, you will be drinking the best Colombian coffee because they only sell the best of the best.”
Juan de Jesús hopes that, with this recognition, great and marvelous things will come to happen. It is a reward the Sierra Nevada gives him for caring for nature, mountains, trees, and his coffee plants and reaching communion between them.