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It is uncommon to meet an entrepreneur with Paola Barona’s passion. Her dedication to her product, Del Alto Valle Coffee, clearly goes beyond creating a successful company. Barona has a full-time corporate job and dedicates her free afternoons and weekends to importing, promoting, selling, and distributing fresh Colombian coffee roasted by herself in New Orleans.
On a trip to a farm in the central mountain range of the Andes, in the town of Ulloa, Colombia, Barona became interested in the process it takes behind enjoying an excellent cup of coffee. Thousands of families in Colombia depend on coffee farms. Hundreds of families on one farm depend on Del Alto Valle Coffee to continue working and surviving.
That is where Barona’s motivation comes in. She created Del Alto Valle Coffee and seeks to position it well in the American market to care for the farmers. Their beans come from a single farm and make a gourmet and artisanal coffee packaged in 4 presentations: Original, MadreMonte, Pink Bourbon, and Geisha. When you try any of these varieties, each cup of coffee results in a sensory journey that emanates the richness and diversity of the best coffee in the world.
The Del Alto Valle Coffee brand was created due to the economic difficulties that the pandemic generated for farmers. “I was on the farm, and I saw how the farmers of Colombia’s most important product did not receive any help. I thought they deserved better treatment and thought of a way to help them,” says Barona. Her small production has received a great reception from supermarkets in the New Orleans metropolitan area and online consumers. From conscious planting and production to carefully designing its packaging, Barona protects the quality of her coffee.
Believing in that quality, she decided to participate in the first NOLA Coffee Festival, an event in which large commercial brands and recognized artisan brands from different parts of the world with years of experience in the industry gathered to showcase their coffee.
Del Alto Valle Coffee, a new brand unknown to many, with a team of one person, was crowned champion of the competition, receiving the most coveted title, Best Brewed Coffee. “I didn’t even understand when they said my name. The person beside me told me I had won the prize, and I couldn’t believe it,” said Barona. Del Alto Valle Coffee’s Geisha variety, represented by an orchid on its packaging, was the champion among around 40 competitors with decades of experience.
The Geisha variety is Del Alto Valle Coffee’s most precious and limited edition. “It is a difficult grain to obtain,” explains Barona. Geisha coffee is renowned for its distinct and complex flavor profile. It often exhibits floral and tea-like aromatics and other delicate floral elements. Its vibrant acidity, nuanced sweetness, and clean, silky body characterize the taste. Tasting notes might include hints of tropical fruits, stone fruits, and citrus. Geisha coffee is known for its rarity and limited availability. The trees are less productive than other coffee varieties, and the meticulous care required during cultivation, harvesting, and processing further restricts the quantity of Geisha coffee produced. The altitude of the land where it grows provides optimal conditions for Del Alto Valle Coffee’s geisha bean, and caring for it is the task of the families who cultivate it.
That’s why, beyond demonstrating the excellent quality of Del Alto Valle Coffee, the brand exists with the mission of supporting the education of the children of the families of the coffee farmers. Barona seeks to make the company self-sustainable but dedicates all profits to funding educational projects for children in the Ulloa region. By purchasing any variety of Del Alto Valle Coffee, you are enjoying a great cup of coffee and allowing 150 families from three towns to receive school supplies and Christmas gifts and have a better quality of life.
Supporting the families is the reason that moves Barona to create the best coffee: highlight the work of the families who take care of each bean and reward them for their hard work, ensuring they can have a decent, fair source of employment.
If you want to impress someone with good taste this Christmas or surprise your friends and family on any occasion, gift the best Colombian Coffee roasted in New Orleans. You can find Del Alto Valle Coffee at your favorite supermarket or order online at delvallecoffee.com.