Coffee Region, Day 6

IMG_4068Day 6, March 12

Who says that you can’t do it all in one day?!

Zip lining, check!  Coffee picking, check! Lunch in Salento, check!  Jeep Willies to Cocora Valley, check!  Walking among wax palms, check! Coffee roasting and tasting, check!  Shopping in Salento… well OK, lightening, a power outage, and pouring rain did affect that.  However, it was still a great evening for the hot tub at the La Esperanza Finca Hotel.

Tell us about the impressions of your day.

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27 Responses to “Coffee Region, Day 6”

  1. Brittany Rogers Says:

    What an amazing day! As someone who is a terrified of hanging off the back of moving vehicles in general, I had so much fun! When we started to arrive into the Valley and see all the palms rising up against the cow grazing land, it was really stunning. The low clouds and rock-filled road indicated, we had arrived. Also, driving through Armenia and the small town surrounding the area, it was apparently through the many “finca hotel” signs advertising in english on the side of the road, that this part of Colombia was very dependent on tourism, whereas, I did not get that impression in Bogota.

  2. Karen Madera Says:

    I am so glad we got to do everything! Ziplining was so much fun. Learning about the coffee production process was interesting too. It was a lot harder to figure out which coffee beans were ripe than I thought it would be. There were so many steps. I am not a coffee drinker, but I still tried the end product during the storm. I think I preferred the actual fruit (had never tried it before) to the end product – still don’t like the flavor of coffee. The fruit tasted like a grape though. I can’t believe that the vetting of the beans is done by 2 people, by hand. They seemed so tired when we visited the factory. My favorite part of the day were the Jeep Willies. So much gorgeous scenery to see and it was such an exciting activity.

  3. Tyler Hjalmquist Says:

    Today was the highlight of my trip. We started out the morning with some zip lining. We then got to pick coffee beans and tour the facilities where they sort and dry the coffee beans. We met the family that owns Café Jesus Martin and learned about their passion for coffee.
    We then rode some Jeep Willies (probably the most dangerous thing I have done in a while), and I was most surprised to see some cops drive by and not even seem to notice that 8 people were standing in the back of a jeep that was driving 30 miles an hour up a winding road. Our tour guide was standing on top of the spare tire of his jeep willie while simultaneously taking pictures of all of us.
    To top it all off, we got to watch coffee being roasted and actually try a freshly roasted coffee bean. I was extremely surprised at how much effort and precision goes into both the coffee bean selection and roasting process. Despite the storm and power outage that happened soon afterward, we were able to buy most of the stock of coffee in the Jesus Martin store, and made it back safely to our hotel. Some of our class mates even got to eat the famous “Texas Burger” before heading back to the hotel.

  4. Destin Whitehurst Says:

    This day was packed full of fun and adventure, and I walked away impressed with our guides’ ability to push forward and improvise. Colombia has thrown all it has at us, and we’ve grown closer and learned more because of it. The coffee region is a welcome sanctuary of greenery, and the rural mountain towns remind me of my days in Costa Rica. That being said, I didn’t miss the opportunity to indulge in a ‘Texas Burger’!

  5. hannahsierra2016 Says:

    Armenia, Day 6: One of the BEST days of my life! When friends and family from home ask me about my Colombia trip? I cannot help but gush about this day. I had never zip lined before and woke up like a kid on Christmas for this day. We plunged seven times, experiencing longest, fastest, and highest zips. I could have done seven more. The language barrier was most intense on this day as it mean’t zipping straight into an earth wall or braking properly. I broke out my Totto shades and deeted up, enjoyed every minute of the ride and breath taking view in great company of classmates and staff. On this day, I notably bonded with Victor as he zipped in line after me. I was so envious of his smooth braking and thankful for his encouragement along the way as I was a less than stellar (but very happy zipliner!) On to the Jeep Willies to Cocora Valley! Now, I get why this was a critical addition to the day. Truly impressed by the staff’s ability to pull off the day. Hanging off the back of jeeps raging down gravel roads and hairpin turns – yes, please! Cocora Valley left me speechless, if only we had more time but off to coffee! We picked, roasted, and we learned the sensitivities and possibilities of coffee. When we finally made it to the coffee shop to taste the brew and see the storefront, a storm stole the show. I have to say that the candle lit cappuccino made for a very nice cap to the day. Mike purchased a bag of coffee for me here, and I cannot wait for the special day to brew it up. It will have to be soon though as it goes bad, right?! A ++++ day, folks!

  6. Laura Szymanski Says:

    If I had any doubt of Orlando’s young-at-heart approach to life, they are all gone watching him hang wildly with abandon off the edge of our Jeep Wheelie, giving high 5’s to passing cars. While we are in Colombia, the French saying “Joie de vivre” readily applies to all of our adventures today: zip lining across the coffee fields, testing out the local trucha by just pointing to the menu and hoping for the best, and of course our Jeep Wheelie ride up to the breath taking Cocorra Valley.

    The day started out with my heart pounding as I approached the platform’s edge of the first zip line. “I am going to do this 7 more times????!??!? Zeesh!” I thought. Stepping off, I kept repeating to myself, “Don’t forget to look around, don’t forget to take it all in.”

    This is the theme of the day: Look around, Take it all in. You don’t want to miss a single second.

  7. Ashley C Tisdale Says:

    This day was filled with lots of adventure and I truly enjoyed it. Starting the day with zip lining was invigorating as it was my first time so I’m glad I was able to try something new in a different country. Initially I was excited and then I became slightly concerned by how high we were and that there were trees below us. The hardest part was braking and the first try, I was so scared that I closed my eyes. After I watched others, I became more comfortable. One of the activities I was looking forward to was going to Café Jesus Martin as I presented on the company a few weeks prior to our trip. I was sad that we were unable to meet Jesus but I enjoyed the opportunity to go into the coffee plantation and see first-hand the process of making coffee. Riding on the back of a jeep was also a once in a lifetime experience for me as I held on tightly to ensure I did not fall off. I thought the end of the night was interesting because we saw the impact of nature within a small town. When there is a major storm, it can cut off the electricity for the entire town. On our way back to Salento, I could not forget how some of our classmates came off the bus to try to remove tree branches on the road with local residents (team effort at its best).

  8. Curtis Davis Says:

    Day 6 featured many highlights of the whole trip. First stop, Zip lining! I was really excited for my first zip lining experience. It was cool to get this bird’s eye view of the landscape in Armenia.

    Second stop, the farm that produces Jesus Martin coffee. I had an embarrassingly low knowledge of how coffee is produced. It was enlightening to follow a coffee bean through the process of being picked, dried and roasted to resemble what we are accustomed to seeing in grocery stores or at Starbucks.

    One of the best parts of the trip was visiting the Cocora Valley. This region in Armenia had breathtaking views that we had the pleasure of taking in on the back of Jeeps. I’ll never forget the tall palm trees, clean air and rolling hills that we saw.

    Although the weather disrupted our plans in the evening, it was a little exciting to be in a really old, small town in Colombia during a heavy rain storm. Shamefully, one of the other exciting parts of the day was getting access to internet during dinner at a local sandwich shop.

  9. David H Chung Says:

    I really enjoyed enough riding of Ziplining. It was a little bit scary but looking down the great forests of Armenia, I was fascinated with Ziplining. It was good training and exercise as well. Taking 7~8 times of the riding, I will never forget how to ride Zipline after this trip! Tyler and I talked with Andres how his experiences in the United States was. He lived in Minnesota for less than a year, working as a part time at a ski resort. We talked about MBA program, living in the United States and Colombia, and which kind of work we are seeking in the future.

    Collecting coffee bean was definitely unique experience for me. I never actually see how the coffee beans looks like in its original plant. Walking through the processes in the farm and later the roasting and screening process, we could learn about how they manage the quality of coffee products. I was always wonder how they manage the bitterness and sourness. I could learn that they manage it by the roasting time, and the conformity of the coffee beans. Also they are trying to propagate the awareness to standard taste of the coffee.

    Having a storm and blackout at the small coffee shop was unique experience too. We enjoyed the darkness and candle lit.

  10. carlisland Says:

    Jam packed day. We Zip lined, picked coffee, and then got stuck in a lightening storm.

    While that was all crazy and fun. I especially enjoyed our make shift dinner in Albania.

    I ate at a restaurant called Texas Burger, which only served one item that could be considered an American style burger. Afterwards the rest of the group was not done with dinner so I decided to find out what night life was like in Albania.

    I was pleasantly surprised. The bartenders were talkative, the crowd was fun and the drinks were unbelievable cheap. I felt like the the coffee region Colombia was akin to the south in the US. Friendly people, good times, and cheap fun.

  11. Jessica Jozwiak Says:

    Saturday was my favorite day of the trip by a landslide. I love gearing up for adventurous activities so it was a blast seeing the group fly through the trees on the zip line. I was near the very front of the line so the best part was getting to experience a zip, as some were much faster or longer than others, then look back to watch my friends’ surprise as they picked up speed. Second favorite part of the day was taking photos in the Cocora Valley, it looked like we were in the clouds and the bipalmas were fascinating. The palm leaves looked way too heavy for the skinny trunks.

  12. Kyle Gabb Says:

    Today was a bit of a rough start for me (hot tub/”hot water”), but ended up being one of my favorite days of the whole trip. I had never done zip lining before and had a great time zooming through the tree tops. Picking coffee beans in the heat for a few minutes made me really understand how difficult spending years of your life doing that would be. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I still had interest in how Jesus Martin picks the best beans and had different ways of drying them to alter their taste. It’s similar to running a vineyard – selecting the best berries and refining the processes is very important. I loved the jeep willies and Cocora Valley – probably the best scenery of the whole trip. Finally I found the black out to be pretty funny – just another que pena moment. We had flashlights and made the most of the situation. I ended the day with dinner at Texas Burger – more similar to P. Terrys than Hopdoddy but I always enjoy seeing the presence that Texas has on a global scale.

  13. Bryan Benson Says:

    Best day of the trip – hands down. Everything we did on this day was a first for me. Zip lining is a blast and I don’t know if I had more fun soaring above the valley or watching my classmates fail to brake appropriately and wipe out several staff members at the park. The coffee plantation was eye-opening – I had no concept of the coffee making process and getting to see it from plant to cup was very educational. My favorite part of the day, however, has to be the jeep willies in Cocora Valley. That’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life – I expected to see pterodactyls flying out of the mist at any moment.

    This was a great break from company visits for us to simply enjoy the beauty of the country and all the majesty it has to offer.

  14. Yeony Bae Says:

    It must be one of my favorite day of the entire trip. All the activities were very unique and exciting. I learned a lot about coffee making process. I never knew that coffee is from ‘berries’ or coffee is picked by hand or coffee berries can be natural fertilizer or smell so bad. I was really glad we could make it to Armenia, even it was only 1 day, since the coffee region has such a unique importance in Colombian culture and economy. I really enjoyed our stay in the resort, with great friend Raul the dog. It was good place for star-watching too.

  15. Ivo Fink Says:

    Our day in the coffee region was full of exciting adventures. First, zip lining provided us with amazing views over the coffee plantations, then, we had the chance to pick coffee with our own hands in the plantations of Jesus Martin. I personally was most impressed to learn about the coffee production process in all its stages from picking, drying, peeling, sorting, and roasting the beans to drinking the actual end product. Amazing to see how three generations of the family are involved in the business with lots of passion!
    All in all, it was great that we managed to condense the entire two-day program into one day and I must say that it didn’t fee rushed to me at all.

  16. Kent Kronenberg Says:

    We made sure to truly have a full day in the coffee region. The zip lining was a lot of fun and I did a great job shirking braking duties. I also ate my first raw coffee bean (well, sucked on it) courtesy of Jose’s egging me on. Some very positive peer pressure. A major highlight was riding on the back of the Jeep Willy with the rain in my face, approaching the world’s tallest palm trees. I felt like I was in a Dr. Seuss book, which was a fantastic feeling. The visit to Jesus Martin’s coffee farm was a lot of fun – our team definitely had the best beans. The family was so nice and even grandma made two cakes from scratch for us and for Kavita’s birthday!

    Getting away from Bogota and the city and seeing the coffee region was definitely one of my highlights of the trip. A power outage at the Jesus Martin cafe and running through the dark with all the rain was a memory I very much hope I hold on to.

  17. Ibk Ol Says:

    The best laid plans of mice and men! So in Bogota, we had packed days and had to cancel stuff due to traffic, well Armenia is way better for traffic, so we were able to go zip lining, coffee picking, have a great lunch, get some jeep willies, look at some gorgeous trees., and roast some coffee. Unfortunately the power went out and we didn’t get to tour Salento some more and drink the coffee, but all in all a great day as well.

  18. Anna Knyazhitskaya Says:

    After a very leisurely day, it was relatively easy to wake up at 7am for an action-packed day of adventure and discovery. The day started with some zip-lining and ended with a power outage and downed trees, so I can’t say it was boring. In between all the action, we visited the Jesus Martin coffee plantation, bean roaster, and coffee shop. I was really touched about how the family – yes, another family! – welcomed us into their business and their home. The Jesus Martin café in Solento is literally in their home. Plus, they were incredibly kind to have a cake prepared for Kavita’s birthday. As a side note, major kudos to Andres, our local tour guide, for his help in making this day happen and having a machete on hand to chop up a downed tree.

  19. Kavita Rangaswamy Says:

    This was hands down the best day of the trip! And I’m not just saying that because it was my birthday 🙂 We started out the day with some zip-lining, which is something that had been on my bucket list for years. Despite being eaten alive by mosquitos, it was so much fun and so scary! We then went to the coffee plantation, where we learned more about how the coffee was picked and then roasted. I enjoyed the activity where we split into teams and had each team try to pick the best beans. Right before we left, I was touched that the family at Jesus Martin had baked me two cakes for my birthday. It was incredibly sweet! We then left to take jeeps through Cocora Valley which had breathtaking views. Despite the heavy rains, we were able to spend some time up in the hills. Unfortunately, we had a power outage when visiting the Jesus Martin cafe, but the group made the best of the situation. I ended the day at a restaurant in Salento and Andres, our tour guide, was kind enough to tell the restaurant it was my birthday so that I could not only get the top-secret Wifi password, but also get a free cake with a side of sombrero and fake mustache. Amazing day!

  20. Adriana Penalba Says:

    This was the most exciting day. After getting delayed so many times, I was glad that we were able to fit in all the activities. First, we went zip-lining and I really enjoyed getting to see all of the beautiful scenery. Then we visited the coffee farm, and I was interested to learn about how coffee is sold to the government at a set price, and since the dollar is currently strong and the peso week, Jesus Martin is forced to sell other agricultural products to get by. After the coffee farm, we went to Salento for lunch where I tried a typical Colombian dish of trucha and finally figured out that patacones is just another word for tostones. After lunch we rode on jeep willy’s which was crazy. I sat inside one of the jeeps while I watched pretty much all of my other classmates stand up in theirs! And the Corcora Valley was beautiful, trees so tall that they looked like pictures. Finally, we went to where they roast the beans, which was a part of the process that I’ve never seen before, so I really enjoyed that. All of this was followed by a rainstorm and power outage which reminded me of when I lived in Nicaragua, especially the part where the coffee shop owner just let us into her kitchen to ride out the storm. Everyone in Colombia is so open, it’s really nice.

  21. Victor Okocha Says:

    Today was one of my favorite days of the trip. It seemed like it was just enough of a lot of different experiences which was perfect. The zip-lining was fun but witnessing some of the members fly full speed into the end of the line was priceless. The coffee farm was cool because we were able to see the very beginning of the coffee producing process. Similar to my experience at the Totto factory, this experience made me really appreciate a cup of coffee knowing how much work goes into producing it. Lunch was also great because I got a chance to try the chicken on fried plantain dish that our guide had been raving about earlier in the day. It was so good I ordered a second serving. The jeep ride up to the national park was completely unexpected. Our driver had an auxiliary cord attached to his radio and asked me to be DJ during our ride which only added to the experience. Picture us listening to Drake’s Hotline Bling while taking in some amazing views of the Andes Mountain range (never thought I’d write that in the same sentence). Lastly, the coffee shop power outage was a memorable experience for me because it gave me a chance to chill out and reflect on everything I had experienced during the day, by candlelight, while listening to music played on guitar.

  22. Elizabeth Sickler Says:

    Orlando jumping a fence…check! What an action packed day, but so much fun. This day really allowed me to get outside and interact with the Colombian environment (for good and bad!). I don’t know if I have gone through so many weather changes in one day. I started with wearing a sweatshirt in the morning, tank top sweating it out in the coffee fields, to soaked and freezing during the black out. I loved working in the coffee fields and then being able to follow the beans through the process. This was another opportunity to see a family business. I was honored to be able to meet and interact with three different generations of the family.

  23. Krista Fischer Says:

    Waking up the hotel in Armenia, we were able to fully appreciate the beauty of the place. I really wish we would have had more time to explore and enjoy, but we were fitting two days of activity into one due to the Bogota travel woes. This day was full of outdoor activity so I was thrilled. First up was ziplining which I started off a bit rocky, but became a pro by the end. My favorite part was most definitely the Jeep willies in Cocora Valley. Our driver was taking corners on two wheels while several of us stood on the back and one of my classmates played DJ. Cocora Valley was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It was rainy and cloudy, but I think it really added to the magical, ethereal feel of the place.

    We also toured the coffee farm, processing operation and store of Café Jesus Martin. I am not a coffee drinker, but could appreciate that producing it is truly an art. While at the store, there was a massive thunderstorm that caused a loss of power. We were still able to purchase coffee, but alas I was unable to souvenir shop in Solento for my “Shakira” hat-the traditional Colombian hat, a sombrero vueltiao.

  24. David F. Says:

    While our day was packed, I can definitely say I was very pleased with each of the acitivities our group did this day. Zip-lining: check. Learn and see how coffee is grown: check. Ride standing up in a jeep through a beautiful landscape: check. Eat patacon: check. Be surprised by how delicious patacon is for how bland everything else in Colombia is: check. See how coffee beans become roasted coffee: check. See the Rolls Royce of coffee roasters: check. Experience an extended electrical outtage: check. Buy coffee from Jesus (Martin): check. Eat a delicious chicken sandwich: check. This day really had it all. Then I went back to the hotel and took a nice cold shower. Mosquito bite count = 3.

  25. stephanielmoten Says:

    The financial situation is Colombia is difficult right now because the Colombian Peso has devalued significantly in the past few years. The owners of the Jesus Martin coffee company told us that they had barely broken even in recent years but that they weren’t operating a very high margin business in the first place. Their goal was not to get rich but to practice a craft about which they were all very passionate. They operated in a remote, rural area but employed over 1000 people during the harvest season. Their company provided livelihoods for people in their community and gave meaning to their own lives. In their minds, as long as they were making enough to continue their operation they were doing fine. They had no interest in expanding internationally or scaling the business.

  26. mikeramirezblog Says:

    Today was my favorite as I did a ton of research about coffee and Colombia prior to arriving. The Ziplining was something that I will remember but the best part of this day for me was having the opportunity to literally pick coffee beans in Colombia talk about something I never thought I would have the opportunity to do. The entire process of the coffee bean is a lot more involved than I thought (well this is for a quality bean). I’m glad that I was able to go through the process and see how the bean transforms – from something picked off a plant into the roasted bean that I now have in my kitchen. Jesus Martin was only a research presentation and now I was able to not only pick beans from the farm but also meet family members of the farm.

  27. Paolo Boero Says:

    Favorite overall day of the trip from an organized activity perspective. Seeing the coffee region, walking through the fields and getting to see the entire process up close was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience for me. The Cocora valley was incredibly beautiful and I had an amazing time walking around at the top of the valley and taking it all in. Probably could have spent a full day walking around/hiking up the hills. It was also a nice break to be outside for the majority of the day and enjoying the physical beauty of Colombia. In the evening we went to go taste the coffee but hit some unexpected weather again and lost power. When we got to the bus an hour or so later I saw everyone in the town waiting outside their door for power to come back on which stuck with me as it reminded me of how social and communal Colombia is.

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