The on-site waterfall. The sprawling fifty acres of this self-run farm, in a place where most people only work a couple hectares at a time. The intensity with which Lucas Melo approaches the on-site coffee washing and milling. Pretty much everything about this place is special.
Let's start with the waterfall. The Galeras volcano is probably the only thing higher than this extremely high-elevation farm around here. It's the Galera mountain water that keeps Melo's farm green, lush, and Edenic. That same water fills Melo's fermentation tanks, which Melo won't let anyone else touch.
We'd say that he likes to do his own dirty work, but his processing is actually incredibly clean. He just has his own ideas about the way a coffee farm should be run. And he prefers to be the person doing it.
Nonetheless, even Lucas Melo can't do everything himself. When harvest comes, he hires three- or four-dozen people at rates near double typical Colombian picking prices. Oh, and he includes their round trip bus fare in the deal. It's a semi-annual boon to the local indigenous economy.
Working for Lucas Melo isn't what you'd call a chill gig. He disdains any agronomy aids besides mulch, vermiculture, and elbow grease. We've never, ever seen him compromise. Fortunately, we like him and his coffee just the way they are.