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The story of Wilder Lazo

Wilder Lazo is a colombian coffee farmer working with Banna Coffee
Wilder Lazo

It’s honestly an interesting story. My father always had the farm, and he was always a coffee farmer. I grew up there, but I can’t say I say I knew much more than how, if the coffee fruits are red, it means they are mature and ready for harvest. I can’t even say that my childhood consisted of running through the coffee plantations. No, the coffee was there, but it was foreign to me and I was indifferent to it. I can’t deny that the fields were a part of me, of course, but I decided to take a different path. I became a veterinarian and dedicated myself to cattle, so I was always around cattle farms and coffee was only for the mornings, thank you, and with panela, always.

Until one day, my father called, sick and tired, and with a quiet voice he told me he was selling the farm. He already had two buyers lined up but he wanted to talk to me before he signed any papers. In that moment, I felt how those coffee plantations that I had been indifferent to for years were actually a part of me. It might have been my father’s voice, doused in nostalgia, that led me to say no. No, he shouldn’t sell it. Yes, I would take care of the farm. I would take care of his coffee. That he shouldn’t worry. Once I was there, standing on the road that led to the farm and knowing nothing about coffee, I decided to invest my capital in renovating my father’s old coffee plantation. 

I didn’t know anything. I took tasting classes, learned about soil, and researched coffee. 

I traveled to Central America - to Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama, but I also traveled to the Cauca region of Colombia to visit plantations and learn about coffee. In one of the cattle farms where I used to work, I ran into some Brazilians who were experts on soil. We performed studies on the farm and learned that the soil quality wasn’t good and it was impacting our coffee. We began to alter its pH, stabilize it, and gave the coffee plantation more flavor. We renovated 13 hectares and planted new, different coffees in eight others. 

Six months ago we harvested a really special coffee. We’re now waiting for the next harvest which should be even better. Nowadays I dedicate almost all my time to coffee, even though cattle still keeps me busy sometimes. My dad is relaxing now. The whole family is involved in the farm. My brother, my mom and I, but my dad comes first, of course. I no longer sweeten my coffee with panela.

Wilder is one of the coffee experts who works alongside us, creating some of the best coffee profiles in Colombia.

Author: Carlos Ospina

Translation: Daniela Rey

Photography: Wilder Lazo & Ana Gómez

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