We are ecstatic to introduce Rodrigo Sanchez to South African Roasters. Rodrigo is a very committed coffee producer in Pitalito, Huila in Colombia, whose experimentations with coffee varieties and fermentation are admirable.
In 2002, Rodrigo participated in a local program, teaching children of coffee producers and cupping coffee. Before that, he and his family had never considered coffee in terms of cup profile. By learning to differentiate profiles, he and his father and grandfather could make the connections between the farming techniques they applied and coffee’s attributes in the cup.
Rodrigo also began to learn about cupping competitions that evaluate the best lots from farms in a region. He noticed that farms would win one year and then never again, which inspired him to investigate how to produce quality coffee…consistently. This led him to explore the trees planted on his farm, Monteblanco, were he discovered various varieties his grandfather had grown in the 1980s.
Monteblanco is a farm located on the top of a mountain in the San Adolfo municipality above Pitalito. It is a family farm managed by Rodrigo and his wife Claudia Samboni, following the coffee-growing tradition that began with his grandfather. In the 14 hectares of Monteblanco farm, Rodrigo and his team have achieved several exotic varieties’ ideal growth and productivity. This is possible thanks to the farm’s environmental characteristics allowing the team to cultivate top-quality Gesha, Pink Bourbon, Pacamara, Purple Caturra, and Red Caturra, among other varieties.
Recently, Rodrigo started being involved in projects with three innovative partners in his region. One of them is the world-famous Elkin Guzman. Elkin has been working with Rodrigo to foster a specific methodology on the applications of experimental and varietal specific processing.
Rodrigo has also been working with Jairo Ruiz of Banexport on “Monteblanco—Banexport Experimental Farm 2”, a variety-specific experimental farm. Lastly, Rodrigo has developed a close relationship with a coffee cupper in Pitalito: Wbeimar Lasso.
“He has been a crucial influence in my career because he guides me, and he has helped me to find the true potential of my coffee.”, Rodrigo says when asked about Wbeimar.
Each harvest, Finca Monteblanco produces micro-lots that serve as competition coffees around the world.
Have a look at the special selection from Rodrigo Sanchez and his Aromas del Sur team, soon available at Sabores;
- Purple Caturra Natural
- Purple Caturra Pineapple
- Purple Caturra Passion Fruit
- Purple Caturra Mint
- Gold Blend
- Pink Bourbon
Rodrigo has another farm called La Loma where our Pacamara, double fermented and washed coffee comes from. Finca La Loma is located in Vereda Agua Negra in Pitalito, Huila. It is a 12-hectare farm owned by Rodrigo Sanchez and his wife, Claudia Samboni where they have been farming with coffee since 2011.
Some of the varieties cropped on the farm include Caturra, Colombia, Pink Bourbon, Pacamara, Laurina, and Gesha.
The mill located on the farm includes a de-pulper and tanks for dry fermentation.
In 2017, Rodrigo and his team at Aromas del Sur—the parent company for La Loma, El Progreso, and Monteblanco farms and the Aromas del Sur dry mill (El Puente)—built a cupping lab on La Loma to facilitate sample roasting, crop evaluation, and sourcing at the origin.
Coffees from Monteblanco and La Loma are milled and prepared for export at the new, state of the art Aromas del Sur dry mill in Pitalito, also known as El Puente.
It is important to emphasize that Rodrigo’s hard work has focused on a collective way of sharing tasks together with his work team Aromas del Sur. With their germination processes, production and exportation, they have reached hundreds of places and recognized as one of the finest Colombian speciality coffees worldwide.
El Puente Mill is a processing facility for nearby farms. El Puente (meaning bridge) is named after the footbridge over the river near the new El Puente processing facility. This facility in the Palestina region of southern Huila processes coffee from Aromas del Sur farms; over ninety families from the vicinity produce coffee on their farms and deliver it to El Puente, which is designed to handle larger coffee volumes than the mills on individual farms can process.
El Puente is a pilot project supported by community investments in the sustainable development of rural areas.
“This project is helping producers reduce the amount of work and risk they take on to process coffee during the peak of harvest. All while getting a premium price for their product. We are working to bring the best out of each lot, from reception of the cherry to milling at our wet and dry mills, through shipping. Expect some top-notch naturals and honey’s as well as innovative fermentations!” – Clearpath
The coffees that arrive at the El Puente Mill are then either processed as Honey, Natural or Washed.
We are fortunate to bring all three processes to South Africa;
Keep an eye out…these amazing coffees will be in South Africa very soon!