Within the framework of National Coffee Day, which is celebrated every June 27 with the aim of paying tribute to the coffee drink and its producers, the Diario del Huila highlights the base of one of the most important guilds at the national level and regional: coffee-growing peasant families.
Diary of Huila, economy
By: Gloria Camargo
Have you ever wondered how much work there is behind a good cup of coffee? Well, it is a lot and it is the result of the work of thousands of hands, joined hands and in most cases of the rural economy in the regions, it is leveraged. by family businesses.
In the case of coffee growing in Huila, there are more than 84,000 families dedicated to this crop, thus making the department the first in production nationwide for more than 10 years.
For this reason, and within the framework of the celebration of National Coffee Day on June 27, established as a tribute to coffee growing and Colombian coffee growers, one of the most prominent examples at the regional level is the Rodríguez Reyes family, from the municipality de Gigante, from where family coffee is grown.
The story of this opita family is centered in the municipality of Gigante, where according to Margarita Reyes Lugo, together with her husband Ernedis Rodríguez, they began a relationship at the age of 15 that has lasted for nearly 30 years around coffee.
“We have known each other since we were 15 years old. We started as the courtship stage and at 19, we decided to formalize life as a couple. The truth has not been easy, because nothing is easy in this life, but with love, total dedication and enthusiasm. When we made the decision to formalize the home, we set some goals and decided to raise our children, in the fields, because we have always liked the fields very much and our specialty is coffee. We always stand out as being passionate about coffee,” said the coffee farmer.
Ernedis Rodríguez, Margarita Reyes, together with their children Laura Cristina, Angie Camila and Adrian, are the best example of the achievements of a coffee family.
In turn, Margarita indicated that thanks to her childhood in the countryside, she had a base of love and passion for the countryside. “The good foundations for being a coffee-growing woman is that you like the countryside, that you are passionate about it.
I am not the person to suddenly go get coffee but I am the person to help my husband with the drying process, at the mill, at home, where I am the mainstay of my husband. He works what is the field and I complement it here at home. We complement each other, that’s how union is, it’s a very nice complement.
Meanwhile, Ernedis Rodríguez, a coffee farmer from the village of Alto de las Águilas, indicated that he is a family that is fortunate in that they like coffee.
“Thank God, for approximately 25 years we have been working with coffee and we have seen the benefits, among them that we have managed to extract added value from coffee with discipline. We have done everything here with the family on the farm in the company, ”he said.
At the same time, the importance of the family in the cafe is vital because “here we all work in one way or another. When I’m not around, my wife and children help move the coffee, stir it, stack it, keep an eye on the temperature, to pick it up. So family is very important. The family has been very important to me in the coffee company,” he said.
Ernedis Rodríguez, is the son of coffee growers, and adds that thanks to this cradle he has been able to provide a home for his three children, the two eldest who are already doing studies focused on the countryside and coffee, while the youngest supports the work of the farm and finished his studies in high school.
“Coffee is very important to me, it is everything. Coffee has been something that has allowed us to emerge and it is thanks to coffee, to the coffee company, that I have been able to provide study for my children and what we have experienced has been very wonderful. Everything we have and what we are today is thanks to God and coffee”, he indicates.
As is well known, in the field there should not be the revelation but the generational splice, and although the difference seems minimal, it is not. Because it does not seek to relieve anyone of his position or role, but rather to achieve the construction of new objects and achievements between different generations.
The ‘El Paraíso’ farm, home of the Rodríguez Reyes family, is located about 12 km east of the town of Gigante.
Faced with this, Laura Cristina, daughter of Ernedis and Margarita, is one of the clear examples of love and the foundations of the coffee family, and who has developed from a young age what could be called the ‘gift’ of cupping.
“I feel very proud to come from a family that has been farmers from generation to generation. My grandparents have a farm and have been farmers for a long time, and well now it has been my father and we continue.
It makes me very proud to know that they have instilled in me the whole subject of the countryside, of caring for the environment and mainly the whole subject of coffee. With my dad, the theme is special coffee, ”she explains in the first place.
He added that due to these teachings and their deep roots in the countryside, along with his sister, they decided to focus their education on topics such as agronomic engineering, “in order to always be linked to the countryside in one way or another. We go out to study in the city but we are always aware of the farm and we know that when we start working we will be linked to the countryside for the rest of our lives”, she points out.
Every day you learn
Regarding cupping and its connection to the world of coffee, Laura points out that “it has been a process of much learning. One learns every day, as I told my dad: the world of coffee is something like medicine, it is something where one learns every day and different coffees come out every day or different fermentation processes are carried out.
So it is a constant learning for one to be able to support the people who come after us, that in this profession without a title, as we call it, we can support others to value a little more the effort that farmers make when it comes to select their coffee very well,” he said.
And the results are not for less, because thanks to the discipline and perseverance of the Rodriguez Reyes family, for approximately eight years, The Coffee Quest in Amsterdam has been buying coffee from the Gigante mountains, which has allowed them to emerge and improve quality and cup processes, exporting to Europe and the United States.
It should be noted that since he was 15 years old, Rodríguez has been working in coffee farming thanks to his father’s teachings, but with the clear goal of being able to sell directly and with added value. “My vision was to be able to have my own company and find an additional business for it, that is, a buyer for my coffee. That was my mission when I was 15 or 20 years old, and thanks to my God and the exercise that we do here on the farm with my family, we were able to achieve it ”, he highlights.