Wilmar Matoma – Finca El Guamo

In Colombia Collective by Karl WienholdLeave a Comment

Producer:  

Farm Name:  

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Wilmar Matoma

Finca El Guamo

Gaitania, Tolima

9 hectares (4.5 of coffee)

Caturra, Typica, Yellow Colombia F6, Castillo

1900m (6234ft)

Washed, 24 hour dry fermentation

Marquesina - enclosed mesh floor

Native hardwood and plantain shade, intercropping with corn, beans, citrus & more

Floral, orange, hazelnut, red fruits, malic acidity


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Farm and Family Background

Wilmar Matoma's Finca El Guamo lies tucked away deep in the mountains between the town of Gaitania and the perpetually snow-capped Nevado del Huila volcano that provides fertile, volcanic soil, about an hour hike up 500 meters from the nearest dirt road, though Wilmar insists it's only 20 minutes. Gaitania is known among Colombians for being the birthplace of the FARC guerrilla and the area has seen it's share of conflict, but is eager to move forward into it's post-conflict future. In the center of this photo take from Wilmar's house is the FARC amnesty campament where insurgents are able to turn over arms and transition to a peaceful civilian life.

Wilmar is a lifelong farmer, whose passion for the countryside and coffee radiates off him. Like most farmers, he hasn't had access to cup quality premiums until recently, and his coffee hasn't been enjoyed on it's own as a microlot before meeting DOT last year. Nevertheless, he chooses to maintain less productive traditional varietals that require more care, and to maintain shade conditions though he could produce more coffee with full sun. He chooses to intercrop to produce food for his family because he knows the market's volatility. While most consider these ideas foolish, we now recognize Wilmar's wisdom and the the exquisite cup these practices produce.

Wilmar learned to grow coffee on his family's farm. When he was older, his father gave him a piece of land to plant on his own. When he proved himself, and his family grew, he purchased Finca El Guamo, which now provides for the family of 8. This year, Wilmar has given oldest son, Santiago, the highest patch of the farm to plant. He wants nothing more than to grow coffee like his forefathers. Without a doubt, he will make his family proud and provide the world with more excellent coffee.

Regional Context

Gaitania is famous among Colombians for being the birthplace of the FARC. Gaitania is extremely remote, several hours and geographically separated from the nearest city.  The region is pristine and the landscape is breathtakingly beautiful and unique to other regions of Colombia, with steep, sharp mountain peaks in the shadow of the Nevado del Huila, the perpetually snow-capped volcano that gives Gaitania fertile, volcanic soil.

Due in part to its isolation, the area has been at times a stronghold of the FARC and other insurgent and/or drug trafficking groups, and often a point of contention between opposing armed forces with local residents caught in the middle.  The newly-found fame of specialty coffee in the region is providing a much-needed economic stimulus, improving the quality of life, and providing an alternative to joining insurgent or criminal groups.


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