15 answers to 15 questions

Hertson Bernal

"My dream is to be the best natural coffee producer in Colombia".

Green coffee producer Hertson Bernal, from the coffee-growing region of Huila, Colombia.

Producer Hertson Bernal

I am dedicated to coffee growing, because I have worked in coffee plantations since I was a child.
In 2006 I bought the La Esperanza farm and became a producer”.
With time and patient and constant work, Hertson has also made the farm his home, where he has built it. Shortening his pampered coffee plantations, working on his new mill, a new dryer, and renovating coffee trees, Hertson is constantly evolving with many challenges in his mind with his farm still to be undertaken.

Why are you involved in coffee growing?

I am dedicated to coffee growing, because I have worked in coffee plantations since I was a child. and in this region of the south of Huila it is produced very well, since we have fertile lands and microclimates that help our coffee to be of excellent quality, and it is one of the crops that contributes in great majority, if not, the whole economic theme of the area, and this benefits mostly our families and also I am passionate about working with coffee.

How long have you been working in coffee production?

All my life I have worked in the cultivation of coffee, but since 2006, when we bought the La Esperanza farm, I became a producer, and since then I have been involved in specialty coffees.

La Esperanza green coffee farm, in the Huila region of Colombia.

What is the most satisfying part of your job?

What I find most satisfying is doing what I am passionate about, plus going through the process of roasting and tasting the fruits of my labor is great.

What are the most critical moments in the production process of your coffees?

In the production of coffee we find several critical moments that are at the beginning of the year, we need summer for the coffee to flourish, because according to the weather so is the harvest. We found another critical point, which is not making fertilizations on time so that the fruit has a full filling, and finally we found that at peak harvest there is not enough manpower for harvesting.

What stage in the harvest do you consider the most important?

Firstly, the harvesting of the fruits, since this is where a lot of time and effort is reflected, but no less important is the drying process, since this is where our work as coffee producers ends.

What is the most delicate stage in the coffee production process?

The most delicate is the drying process, because almost always the harvest is in rainy weather and we make a great effort to dry as much as possible in optimal conditions.

What quality controls do you apply to your coffees in the production chain?

The quality controls I apply are as follows:
-That the coffee is at its ripening point.
-Clean the fruits well.
-That the processing site is clean.
-To have a very hygienic drying room.
-Finally, a cupping test was carried out, in order to know how our coffee expresses itself in all its aspects.

How many members does your coffee production process team have?

When we are not in the harvest period, we have an average of 4 to 6 people working from Monday to Saturday, but when we are in harvest, we use a little more personnel. can vary from 10 to 14 people for harvesting, although the labor force is not entirely directed to harvesting, but also to other tasks.
Views of the La Esperanza farm, in the coffee-growing region of Colombia.

What is the coffee culture like in your region?

The coffee culture in my region is mainly based on small producers that sell their wet coffee to the trade, and there are few of us that are fully committed to the production of specialty coffees.

What does sustainability mean to you?

It is the process in which I give back a little of what Mother Nature gives me, I try to protect it and take care of it in order to take advantage of the environment, to have a higher quality coffee that consequently brings great benefits to our family.

What information would you like to receive from roasters about your coffees?

I would like to receive the following information, I would like them to tell me what the descriptors of my coffee are for them, the scores.
Also to know which variety is the one they like the most and which process is the favorite of each one of them
I think that interacting with the roasters is very good, because they are the ones who in the end make our work shine so that coffee lovers can drink the best beverage in the world!
I am open to roasters asking me any questions they may have about my coffee.

What is the social aspect that worries you the most in the sector?

The social aspect that worries me in my sector is that young people are migrating to the city and the countryside is running out of people to work it.
La Esperanza green coffee farm, in the Huila region of Colombia.

How is your farm different from others in the same region?

All the farms in my region are the same, the difference with mine is that I produce specialty coffees, and I am passionate about experimenting and discovering new things. I also sell my coffee to a great company which is Mare Terra Coffee.

What do you think the future will be like for coffee farms?

The future of coffee farms is that the buyers come directly to our farm, taste our coffee and this coffee is threshed and ready for export. Furthermore, our farms should become a center for the formation and information of coffee and tourism awareness, this is how I see the future of our farms.

What is your coffee dream?

My coffee dream is to be the best producer of natural coffee in Colombia, so that my friend Timur can show it all over the world, to have a very good and efficient drying plant to dry it.Someday I will be able to do the whole Threshing process on my farm. Also to acquire another property, in order to have new coffee crops for greater production, so that this will lead me to improve everything and finally going to coffee consuming countries, it would be great to meet roasters.

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