Road trip – La Golondrina

Last week Elizabeth and I took a road trip with some coffee friends to DC for a “Meet the Producer” event at the Counter Culture‘s training center in Adams Morgan. These are always very special moments when we as consumers and sellers of some of the many great coffees from around the world can meet the folks responsible for bringing into being such greatness. This event was particularly exciting as there were in the same room representatives from nearly every step of a coffee bean’s journey from tree to cup — farmer, exporter, roaster, retailer, and consumer: an unprecedented meeting of individuals. We were privileged to be among the 40 or so individuals who met at the CCCDCTC for a meet-and-greet with Nelson Melo and his wife Liliana Pabon and two representatives of Virmax. Nelson is the owner of Finca Las Acacias, one of the first coffee farms in the Cauca region of Colombia to participate in Counter Culture’s “La Golondrina” project. He is also the elected president of the Organic Producers Association in that same region of Colombia. Virmax is a unique Colombia-based exporting company: They function not only as an exporter but they also work with producers in Cauca to help them achieve a higher quality with their coffee. The consistent high quality can demand a higher premium in the specialty coffee world and in so doing, improve the farmers’ quality of life. Counter Culture has worked very closely with Virmax and the many farmers in Cauca like Nelson and Liliana to create La Golondrina (and the different Golondrina Micro-Lots) every year. Through translators Nelson and Liliana presented a great deal of information about their work with La Golondrina, the Cauca community and coop association, organics and the Organic Producer Association, and their relationship with Virmax. It was nothing short of thrilling to have them here with us and to hear firsthand accounts of this amazing community and this delicious coffee. Many thanks to Nelson and Liliana for making the trip up to us — we can’t wait to bring their coffee to the Newbold neighborhood!


Nelson w/ Virmax representative translating

2 Responses to “Road trip – La Golondrina”
  1. albion says:

    i’m confused. here in milwaukee, alterra recently held a similar event. well actually, virtually the same event. including mr nelson melo himself.
    i was told that alterra had purchased his entire crop this year. but, and please correct me if i’m wrong, you seem to be saying counter culture also purchased mr melo’s coffee this year.

    just curious,

    • aultimo says:


      Just think of it as the Nelson Melo North American tour… In all seriousness, I think you are correct sir and Alterra has secured the entire micro-lot. Nelson’s connection to CCC is that he heads the Organic Producers Association in Cauca and belongs to the same community of farmers who contribute to Counter Culture’s “La Golondrina.” I think that in years past Nelson’s crop has been among the coffees that make up the Golondrina “macro-lot”, but this year you have the good fortune of having it separated out as micro-lot at Alterra. Lucky ducks!

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