In the morning we went to visit the Coffee Growers Committee of Caldas or Comite de Cafeteros de Caldas in Manizales. The Coffee Growers Committee of Caldas is the representation for Caldas of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia. This is also where they manage the tree renewal program in Caldas. They also manage the extension service or technical support services (yellow t-shirts people). One of the most important projects of the Caldas committee is education, especially in elementary and secondary schools. They have beautiful land there with animals, orchids and butterflies. I was a little scared of the ostriches when one tried to bite my bag. I was standing a little too close.
This bamboo structure is called Zeri Pavilion or Guadua Pavilion. Guadua is the type of bamboo it is made from. This is actually the prototype for the pavilion built in Hanover for the Expo 2000. The one in Hanover was destroyed before Expo 2001. They were both built by architect Simón Velez. They sometimes hold coffee congress meetings in this one.
It was really quite remarkable and mesmerizing. Here is a view of the ceiling from the inside.
We took a tram ride over to the other side where they housed the butterflies and had the orchid garden.
This particular orchid is called Dracula.
This pink orchid named Cattleya is the national flower of Colombia.
And this is a monkey orchid. See how there is a monkey face inside?
As we left, Pilar from the Committee of Caldas gave us wonderful hats that are like the one Juan Valdez wears. They are hand-made in a small town called Aguadas by women head of household.
Then we went to Chinchina where we visited Cenicafe, The National Coffee Research Institute.
This is where they have labs and go into the soil to find out what is there and what needs to be there to make the best coffee.
They also test how the insects work with the plants and how to create disease resistant varieties.
Ah, here are Nora and Mike enjoying a delicious cup of 100% Colombian Coffee.
After a short break, we went to visit Buencafé, the Freeze Dried Coffee Factory.
Here we had the expertise of Camilo Gómez (on far left), the marketing and sales coordinator at Buencafé.
Here is Donna putting on her sturdy socks and shoes for the tour.
We all had to wear special outfits.
The face masks came in handy when we went through the freezer at -50 degrees Celsius. The factory uses a very specific formula for coming up with delicious freeze dried coffee and they support many brands around the world. For more on their process, click here.