By Chris Kolbu
The science and practices required to coax the very best out of coffee beans are, by now, better understood than ever and widely adopted across the specialty coffee industry. However, what is known about and done to the coffee before its harvest hasn’t been explored in nearly as much detail.
The most obvious reason for this is economic: most coffee farms, farmers and farm labourers are forced to live in the economic reality of the present. There is neither the time nor the short (or even medium) term potential for reward that would justify spending man hours and farm land chasing incremental and/or potential improvements.
Tim is aware of this, which is why he has purchased a lot of land that was previously part of Finca Tamana in Huila, Colombia. Tim has been buying coffee from and working with the people of Finca Tamana for years; setting up next to this operation felt like a natural extension of the relationship he and Elias Roa, the proprietor of Tamana, have built over the years.
In an interview with Eater.com, Tim says the motivation behind purchasing a farm of his own was to be able to do the sort of experimentation necessary to understand, find new (and verify old) methods that improve quality, without burdening farmers economically. To go beyond post-harvest processing and delve into the complex interplay of soil, climate, shade, and all the different aspects of farming that come together, eventually, in the coffee cherry.
It goes without saying that we’re all excited to see what comes out of The Soil—El Suelo—in the coming years, both in terms of coffee and insights. This could just be the start of something great.
If you would like to know more about Finca El Suelo, here are a few links:
- Tim Wendelboe Bought a Coffee Farm—Sprudge.com
- Why Did World Barista Champ Tim Wendelboe Buy a Coffee Farm in Colombia?—Eater.com
- The 4th Wave, Are We There Yet?—Coffeehustle.com
All photos in this article taken from the @FincaElSuelo instagram feed