October 21 – 22 , 2013
After constantly being on the move, Chandler and I were ready to go at a slower pace. Our hostel had great internet and Salento was a sleepy town, so we took the day easy. We updated the blog, which was over two months behind and took a walk through town.
The highlight of the day was playing tejo. Tejo is a traditional sport in Colombia and a lot of fun. Basically, you throw a metal puck at small, exploding targets set into clay. The targets are triangles filled with gunpowder that either make a big boom or light on fire when hit. The targets aren’t too hard to hit, but it is advised to have a beer or two to improve aim. We played for several hours.
The next day, we went on the Don Elias coffee plantation tour just down the road from our hostel. The tour began with a little walk to a bush sporting green and red berries. The small family finca was perched on a steep hillside. All the coffee is shade grown, so there were lots of avocado, banana and plantain trees to supply shade and food for the family. Our guide plucked two red berries from different plants and explained that they grew 2 different types of coffee, Colombian and Arabica. The more red of the two was the Colombian variety. All berries are hand picked and only when fully ripe.
The beans are squeezed out of the skins and allowed to dry in a small greenhouse type structure. Another shell is removed and the beans are ready for roasting.
The beans are put into a big metal bowl, put over a wood fire and stirred continuously. The beans turn brown and expand a surprising amount.
The beans are now ready to be ground and brewed. We were treated to a delicious cup of coffee at the end of the tour.
We got caught in a big rainstorm on the way back, but luckily it was warm rain, and was kind of fun.