“We met with many families who have lived and worked in the area for their whole lives.”

Our Roastmaster’s Colombian Adventure

When it comes to coffee, knowledge is power.

by | Apr 17, 2019

For many, coffee is simply thought of as a small, albeit necessary, part of a daily routine, but at Satellite, we know it’s so much more than that. Behind each cup of coffee we serve lies the story of distant regions and the work of generations. That’s why we take the utmost care when sourcing the beans we use at our cafes, ensuring our high standards are met.

We also know that when it comes to coffee, knowledge is power. The more you understand how your coffee is produced and where exactly it’s coming from, the more you’re able to craft a finished product that elevates and accentuates natural flavor profiles and aromas.

For nearly five years, our Roastmaster, Matt Loraas, has been the man we’ve trusted to roast our micro-batches of coffee beans. We like to say that he’s equal parts scientist and artist; he handcrafts each batch, closely monitoring temperature and time, knowing that a shift of a few degrees or seconds can mean the difference between failure and success.

In February, Matt, was invited to visit several coffee farms near Popayan, Colombia. His tour was hosted by Café Femenino, an amazing organization that’s working to advance women’s roles in coffee production worldwide. (For more information on Café Femenino, check out our blog post “A Coffee That Stands for Women.”) Satellite has partnered with Café Femenino to start bringing their ethically sourced, fair trade coffee to the people of Albuquerque.

We sat down with Matt to hear more about his trip, who he met, and what he learned.

What inspired you most during your trip?
I was amazed by the people at the co-op we visited and their commitment to remembering the story of the region – they’re even working on building a museum that will help preserve the history of the area. Many farmers can trace their heritage back for generations, and with that comes a real respect for their land. I was also impressed by the work that Café Femenino is doing to help get youth back into farming. During my visit, we met a 10 year old boy who was given 100 coffee plants to watch over – he was responsible for their growth and wellbeing.

What was your biggest “ah-ha!” moment?
I now understand where Colombian coffee gets a lot of its unique flavors! Farmers in the region grow citrus trees in the same fields as their coffee plants, and those citrusy notes are definitely present in many Colombian coffees.

Who did you meet while you were in Colombia?
We met with many families who have lived and worked in the area for their whole lives. There was one woman in particular that was 92 years old who had been farming since she was a little girl. She was definitely the matriarch of the family, and now there are three generations living and working together on the same farm.

What did you learn about Colombian culture?
The country is still recovering from the drug trade. During the conflict, many men were killed, so the work that Café Femenino is doing to empower women farmers in the region is extremely important. During the height of the drug trade, many coffee farmers were forced to grow coca for the cartels, but now, with government help, they’re able to grow what they want to again.

What did you learn about Café Femenino that you didn’t know before?
In order to be part of the Café Femenino program, co-ops must allow women to own their own farms. Also, any farm that is Café Femenino certified can apply for grants that they can use to make improvements to their properties like upgrading the kitchens in their farm houses or building on-site milling facilities.

Learn more about Cafe Femenino by visiting their website.


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