Story: Huila is spanned by the Andes mountains and is home to the towering Nevado del Huila volcano. The word Huila comes from the Páez indigenous language and means “Luminous mountain”, because of the beautiful topography of the region. Coffee is delivered to the mill from the central and Eastern Andes mountain range. The mountains provide rich fertile volcanic soil, and the deep valleys and Magdalena river attract tropical air which creates a perfect microclimate for growing coffee. Palermo is a municipality in the northern part of the Huila Department and is home to the mill where this coffee is processed.
Coffee is picked by the smallholders in the municipality in the same way as across much of the country. Families and neighbours share labour to collect the cherries which are commonly washed and dried on the farm, often at high altitudes on steep slopes, or brought to a nearby beneficiary for processing. It is then brought to the dry mill or cooperative headquarters for cupping, scoring and sorting for export.
Due to the many microclimates, faces of the slopes, and changing weather patterns, there is often fresh coffee cropping throughout the year, though generally this is split across the main and mitaca (or ‘fly’) crops.
Global warming has seen a significant change across Colombia, bringing challenges to some areas and opportunities to others. Earthquakes and landslides have featured in the coffee areas, but the commitment to quality remains high.