Nery Nelcy Montilla
FINCA EL MIRADOR STORY
Nery Nelcy is deeply grateful for coffee and what she has been able to achieve through it. From a young age, with nothing to her name, she decided to leave her hometown of La Unión, Nariño, in 1999 at the age of 20 to work as a cherry picker in Isnos, Huila. By working on several farms, she expanded her knowledge of coffee production in addition to what she had learned from her father, who was a coffee farmer in Nariño. Around 2009, she purchased her current farm, which only had a makeshift house made of bareque (a type of mud bricks). It was a piece of land that no one wanted, as they believed it was unsuitable for any crop. However, Nery knew she could make it work. In 2010, she moved to the farm with her two daughters and proved everyone wrong when she started producing coffee. Of course, the journey has not been easy. Initially, the coffee she produced was sold in the local market as conventional coffee. In 2018, she began living with her husband, Lidier, who is from Isnos. He had heard about Caravela and suggested to Nery that they should try selling to them. Since then, they started selling specialty coffee to Caravela and have improved their farm practices plus their income. Nery has proven to be an exceptional farm manager and income administrator derived from coffee production. Through effective management, she has managed to build a two-story house, and the first house she lived in is now used for raising guinea pigs. Additionally, with careful financial planning, in 2022, they acquired a 4×4 truck, which facilitated the delivery of coffee to the purchasing station in San Agustin. As the icing on the cake, they were even able to purchase a nearby plot of land for her oldest daughter to have her own coffee production.
Nery’s coffee processing is, in a sense, a traditional washed process. It all begins with meticulous manual cherry picking, which are then transported to the wet mill on the farm. There, the cherries are floated, and a manual selection is performed to remove any defects that can be identified. Subsequently, the cherries are placed in a reception container for 24 hours before pulping. Afterward, the coffee is fermented in closed bags for around 72 hours and then subjected to two washes. For the drying phase, they begin with shade drying to remove excess moisture, followed by transferring the coffee to the main covered drying area, where it will take up to 15 days to reach the desired humidity level.