Hernando De Jesus Ruiz Velez lives in the mountains in Antioquia, Colombia. He grows coffee on his 4.5ha farm, which sits at 1850 masl in the clouds of the high Andes. Hernando is 62 and has worked in coffee production his entire life. The farm is named ‘La Alianza’ (The Alliance) as Hernando believes the farm’s success has been the result of all the hard work put in by him and his wife, Cecilia Serna.
The farm has a total of approximately 16,000 coffee plants which are split between the Caturra and Colombia varieties. Hernando has faced many adversities as a coffee grower including leaf rust, unpredictable weather and crashing market prices. Despite these hardships, Hernando is proud of being a farmer and being part of the Delos Andes Cooperative. The Cooperative is based in the town of Andes in Antioquia and runs a micro-lot quality programme, highlighting farmers who produce high quality coffees. As part of this programme, Hernando and Cecilia Serna will receive a second premium payment on top of the initial money received when delivering their coffee to the cooperative. This premium payment allows them to invest in the farm and their family.
Once harvested, the coffee is floated and separated before being pulped and fermented for 20 hours in a tiled tank without water. The coffee is then washed and transferred to the parabolic driers where it is dried for between 10-14 days.