Origin trip 2019 - Colombia

Origin trip 2019 - Colombia

It's good sometimes to take stock and acknowledge that no matter what we do in our lives we can seldom ever do it alone or in isolation. So this blog is a tribute to the coffee farmers the world over, whom along with their families and workers cultivate the coffees that features in our daily rituals of coffee drinking. I appreciate how lucky I am to enjoy what I do for a living, traveling to where coffee originates from and meeting the people involved is something that I never take for granted.

Countries that produce coffee are referred to as the coffee origins. Coffee grows for the most part in countries that are geographically located between the two tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. In 2019 Colombia was the coffee origin that I visited. A beautiful country with lush vegetation, stunning scenery, warm people and some truly fabulous coffee farms and coffees.

Getting the coffee from the farm to your cup involves so many steps. It is not just a matter of visiting a farmer and indicating that you will buy their beans, so could they please send some of their crop to you. That would be like arriving at a farm here in Ireland and saying that you will buy their wheat if they could send some to the following address in South America please.

We depend on the quality of the green beans first and foremost in order to have quality in our cup and there are so many links on that supply chain. We start with the farmers who grow and tend to the coffee with care and dedication. Then very often there is a co-op that the farmer is a member of, which assists with monitoring quality standards, providing supports and gives them a voice. With this support farmers (co-op) can approach local green bean coffee exporters to represent them  in the market place and obtain decent, ethical prices for their quality coffee from green bean importers worldwide.  

The green bean importers then sell on to coffee roasters whose job it is to roast the coffee beans, this requires skill and expertise. Once packaged, we hand the coffee over to cafes, restaurants etc. where professional baristas are tasked with understanding how to extract the very best from the coffee so that it reflects the original aspirations those farmers had at the start of the journey.  We also have “non professionals” coffee lovers drinking and enjoying our coffee at home or at work.

Every coffee origin is different so every trip provides an opportunity to both learn and appreciate the conditions particular to that country. We get exposed to things such as new and innovative farming methods, unfamiliar varietals of coffee, and we form an appreciation around the challenges involved in the logistics and access to coffee plantations, the impact a rainy season can have positive or negative on a crop, the status quo (or otherwise) of the local political and economic landscape.

Then some discussions are more Global and far reaching and revolve around topics such as coffee plant disease, climate challenges, and sustainability issues, pricing concerns or labour shortages. All these factors  play a part of the journey from the crop to the cup.

The mountains of Colombia create an abundance of Micro climates that helps bring about lots of different profiles in their coffees. The taste profiles of Colombian coffees varies greatly  from heavy chocolate sweet to floral fruity and tropical. Each region is different, we spent our time in Huila where 12% of the country's coffee is grown.

Deemed as the 4th largest producer of coffee in the world  and with 6% of the world coffee market, more than two million Colombians rely on coffee for their livelihoods.

The appreciation and gratitude from the coffee farmers when they get to meet those of us whose job and privilege it is to represent their hard work in the market place is truly rewarding. AT FiXX the why of our business is  to connect over coffee, whether with our suppliers, customers or the public at large.



  • Anne Abberton

Anne Abberton is CEO and founder of FiXX.

Entering the coffee business initially as a coffee importer and distributor by setting up her own business in 2004, Anne has since delved into many aspects of the industry.