When our importer gave us an “insider tip” 3 years ago that we could purchase an entire lot of a Natural coffee from a female producer out of Popayán, Colombia...we couldn’t resist. That first year we received 3 bags and what felt like 3 days later - it was gone. It was that good.
Hooked, we purchased it again the next year. This time it was 5 bags and enough to drive us (**fly) all the way to Colombia to meet the woman behind the magic.
In February 2020, we were hosted by the FCC and Cafe Imports in the beautiful city of Popayán. After a long day of visiting farms and a fertilization plant, our car creeped up to an estate with a brightly colored fence and gorgeous looking dog. Natalie suddenly shrieked “we are at Liliana’s farm?!” Sometimes pictures do do something justice, and although Natalie had only seen pictures of this farm (and its dog) she instantly knew we were where we trekked all that way to be.
After a teary hello full of hugs and laughter, we met Liliana, her husband and her dogs. We walked the farm with her as she explained that she was the first in her region to take on the challenge of growing Natural coffee, a challenge she met and conquered. Learning more each year after every production, she shared what she was learning with the FCC by teaching other farmers in her region how to grow natural coffee as well.
Her reasoning for sharing her wealth of knowledge with others? Because the more high quality coffee coming out of the region, the better for the entire coffee growing community. Additionally, naturally processed coffee uses substantially less water than washed process and is better for a region that is already lacking accessibility to water.
Liliana was inspired to start producing natural coffee after the Quality Control Director, Lisbet, told her there was a growing market for natural coffee. Upon hearing this, Liliana brought the idea back to her husband - who is also a coffee farmer and co-owns the farm with Liliana. He wasn't on board, but that was certainly not going to stop Liliana.
She walked out onto her farm a drew a line right down the middle, one side was for her husband and one side was for her. On her side, she started to grow and produce natural coffees, a decision that was extremely successful.
When we arrived at Liliana's farm, we sat around and talked to her and husband for hours. We talked about Popayán, the community, how climate change was affecting coffee growing and of course natural vs. washed processed coffee.
There was a lot at stake when Liliana decided to reserve part of her farm for natural processed coffee, if she had failed, that would have been money lost for her in her family. Instead, she produced a damn fine amazing product. It was this risk that drew us to Liliana, we were inspired by her confidence and her willingness to put it all on the line. Now, we have the pleasure of getting first access to this coffee each and every year and it has quickly become a Treeline favorite.
We can't wait to go back to the White City of Popayán and spend more time with Liliana, her family and her dogs. We hope you enjoy this coffee as much as we do!