“The day starts at 5:30am with a cup of very good coffee,” María Omaira Meza Urbano told us.
And very good coffee indeed! We were thrilled at the flavors of this lot, from piña colada to rose and strawberry and blood orange and passionfruit. It’s a wonderful harmony of cultivar specific flavors and unconventional processing methods and terroir.
“We only pick mature cherries and leave them to rest for 24 hours before depulping,” she told us about the process. “Then we leave the coffee to ferment for 42 hours and then wash the coffee but only once so that some of the mucilage remains on the parchment. Then we dry the coffee in the sun on raised beds from 7am to 11am and from 2pm to 4pm, and we move the coffee every hour. After 15 days the coffee is finished drying and stored on wood pallets in jute bags.”
Even though she is growing coffee on just two hectares, the farm requires constant maintenance. “I personally make sure that there are 3 meals provided and supervise the work, and at the same time, I take care of my house and feed the farm animals.”
“My entire life has been dedicated to working with coffee, from seed selection to cultivating and harvest, always looking for better quality and better earnings for all the work that the process requires,” María Omaira Meza Urbano proudly told us.
“My parents were coffee producers and since I was a child I helped on the farm and from there I have always liked everything about cultivating coffee. When I was 14 years old my father gave me a plot of land and I planted 2500 Colombia and Caturra coffee trees.”
After a renovation two-and-a-half years ago, Doña Meza introduced Gesha seeds to the farm. Working with the FNC, Colombia’s Coffee Farmer’s Federation, this year as they have been quietly developing a microlot specialty coffee selection program for a few years now, she sold ~450lb lot of double-fermented Gesha grown by María Omaira Meza Urbano. Harvesting the 2 hectares of coffee yields just 15x 70kg bags of coffee annually.
Omaria had some special words for other producers: “Women have the same abilities to produce specialty coffee of high quality. They should take the initiative and not let obstacles stop them. We can forge our own future and create work for others in our society, we can learn everyday and take advantage of the advice from experts and those who have had good experiences in this work. The most important, without reference to gender, is to look for ways to produce quality and not quantity.”