The La Morelia finca is owned by Miller Walles and his wife, Dadny Salinas. They work as a family over the winter to prepare for the coming harvest.
Miller makes it a point of honour to harvest cherries at perfect maturity, as a family and with the help of seasonal pickers. He pays his pickers 1,000 pesos more per arroba (12.5 kg) than the going rate.
After weighing, he immerses the cherries in cold water and skims off those that are not sufficiently mature. He then de-pulps the cherries the same afternoon and leaves each lot to ferment for approximately 36 hours, depending on the temperature. He then cleans the beans by removing their mucilage and leaves them to dry on bamboo African beds for 35 to 40 days, turning them over every 24 hours to prevent mould from forming.
Miller believes that his coffee’s distinctive characteristics are explained by his involvement in the production process, which he considers just as important as the nature of the soil and the unique Paicol climate. He has learned a lot about coffee production and farm management thanks to courses given by agronomists at local institutions such as SENA (National Training Service). He is also a member of the Paicol producers’ association which groups some 150 farmers.
Better remuneration for pickers | Dried on bamboo African beds | A producer involved in the production process | ruity cup (orange, pear, mandarin)
Miller Walles was not always a coffee producer. He became one 15 years ago when he bought a farm in the municipality of Paicol, in the Huila region. Initially a sugar cane producer, he then decided to change profession and devote himself entirely to coffee production. His lifestyle has changed radically as a result and he can now support his family, something he could not do when working sugar cane.
Miller started from scratch with the help of his wife, Dadny Salinas, and his eldest son, Ricardo. The land was completely wild and infertile. He has chosen not to farm some of his land in order to leave room for the incredible forest and biodiversity.