[Geoff] Cherry Ripe

Bogota is one big fat city with around 9 million people, so it was an easy decision to cut and run after 2 days once we had Gus’s brakes sorted.  After spending just one hour in traffic going to and from the Kawasaki dealer, it was enough for me.  It took us around 90 minutes just to ride to the outskirts of the city and hop on the I-25, the nice interstate highway didn’t last long and it turned into a single lane roadway winding back into the mountains.  Once again full of petrol tankers, all appearing to head to Medillan, Colombia’s second biggest city and the usual overtaking suicide drivers.

'Ground Zero where it all begins.  It takes 8 months for a cherry to ripen.

‘Ground Zero where it all begins. It takes 8 months for a cherry to ripen.

We pulled off the westbound highway losing the trucks and headed south to Manizales, a coffee producing region and one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Colombia.  Hacienda Venecia is a coffee plantation where you can stay overnight and get a tour of how the coffee bean process starts.  Our local guide spoke good English and we started in the classroom with some interesting history and facts and figures.  Doning a nice clean pair of gum boots, we set off for the nearby coffee tree plantation for an indepth look and feel for how it’s done.  This particular region is fortunate with it’s rainfall, temperature and altitude where they get two harvests a year and because they pick by hand (16c/kg) they can pick the red beans and leave the remaining green beans to ripen for next time.  A process not available to mechanical picking.A walk thru the middle of the crop saw me standing among thousands of coffee plants (I’m in heaven!!) then on to the processing plant where they peel the first skin off the beans, dry them, then the second skin comes off ready to bag and sell overseas.A great day except the espresso machine was in getting repaired.

Dig the dorky gumboots...

Dig the dorky gumboots…

Sun dried beans.

Sun dried beans.

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