Camilo Merizalde is an expert in coffee production. He has worked on projects in a number of producing countries which promote biodiversity and improve sustainability by sharing specialised production techniques.
Camilo began with a test farm in Colombia in the 1990s, which he dedicated to reviving traditional coffee growing methods with the end goal of producing high-quality coffee for export.
At the time, Colombia had moved away from some more traditional coffee varieties in favour of newer and more productive ones.
The farm was called Santuario, and it was located in Popayan, Cauca. To begin, Camilo worked with an agronomist to establish the optimal layout for the farm. The process of planning the farm and gathering seedlings took about two years.
As well as bringing in Typica and Bourbon seedlings from Huila, Camilo sourced Geisha plants from experimental agricultural gardens. He notes, however, that Typica remains his favourite variety, thanks to its fantastic flavour potential.
In the years that followed, Camilo created a high-volume processing facility on the farm to improve coffee quality. This was capable of leveraging a range of different processing methods to increase cup scores.
With access to both conventional and experimental processing methods, Camilo and Santuario soon increased their presence in the specialty coffee market, and started to supply a range of spectacular coffees to roasters.