Java Enabled: Lo Mejor de Monserrate
|Courtesy Mike Marquard|
|The village of Monserrate and its co-op president, Don Gabriel|
The Kaldi's duo was eager to see how the coffee was grown. "We hadn't gotten a chance to really walk the fields," Marquard said. "They asked us if we wanted to take the easy way or the hard way. We said the hard way. They walked us up, and the hill's angle had to be at 70 degrees. Even when we took the 'easy' way, it was still a really hard climb."
Though only a couple of hours by car from the capital, Bogotá, Monserrate is a world away from anything most Americans will ever see. There is only one rugged road to connect this tiny town to the outside world. When a flood last year wiped out this road at the peak of the harvest, farmers were forced to carry their coffee down the mountain on their backs.
Mountain passes aren't the only obstacles to reaching Monserrate. Only recently was this territory wrestled away from narco-trafficking FARC guerrillas. Zimmer and Marquard said some areas are still dangerous for tourist travel.