There are moments in time that have the potential to transform your destiny. Perhaps a decision you made or a person you met that inspired this change. For me, that moment was when I discovered the wonderful world of coffee.
The year was 1995 I was on contract working in Burundi, in the African Great Lakes region of East Africa, when I met with Bali Bashia, the owner of Caf a Bu (Burundi Coffee Co.). Bali's knowledge of coffee was remarkable and his passion so infectious that our meeting that day led to a partnership, inspired by a vision to export Burundi's finest Arabica coffees, to be shared and enjoyed with coffee lovers around the world. Sadly, as it is well documented, civil unrest in the region intensified and reluctantly I had no alternative but to leave Burundi.
On returning to South Africa in 1998, I founded the company 'Avanti Caffe', from where we began to produce a blend of coffees originating from Africa, Indonesia, Central and South America. Again the emphasis was directed towards producing the finest of quality, backed by superior service.
I enjoyed 13 wonderful and successful years at Avanti, formed some incredible friendships both locally and internationally, and supported by an amazing team, we established Avanti as a strong South African brand.
A visit with Colombia’s indigenous people the Páez (Nasa) high in the mountain region of San Pedro, Tolima
In 2011 we embarked on a new adventure when an amazing opportunity to acquire my own coffee farm in Colombia arose. It is a country recognized by many in the industry for producing some of the world’s finest Single Origin Coffees. Never known to shy away from a challenge, we seized the opportunity. We had some wonderful memories operating our own farm, learning first-hand the inner workings of the coffee industry in Colombia.
Colombia with its amazing geological diversity from Nariño in the south through the Central Andes Cauca, Huila and Tolima host some of the World’s finest Single origin micro-lots. After years of conflict new areas are opening up allowing farmers to showcase some of Colombia’s finest Specialty coffees. One such area boarders Tolima and Huila, high in the mountains, the indigenous Páez and local farming communities are producing some amazing Single Origin Micro-Lot coffees.
Colombia, the place where the warmth of it's people is something very special; endearing, humbling. Constantly you learn something special and become instant friends; it's then you understand why it is not only dubbed the land of coffee but also the land of smiles.