“A Few Questions With…” is a series featuring some of Ally’s partners across the globe. Our goal is to get to know the people who make coffee happen a little better, to talk about their work, and to look forward toward their vision of where coffee is headed. We’re thankful for these relationships that we get to be a part of, and excited to have the opportunity to let these folks tell you about themselves in their own words.
The following responses have been edited for clarity.
Liliana Caballero Rojas is a coffee producer who owns and operates Hacienda Casablanca in the Floridablanca municipality of Santander, Colombia. She began her coffee career in March of 2005 when she and her family purchased Casablanca and assumed operation of the farm. Today, the 20 hectare property is planted with Castillo, Colombia, Bourbon, and Gesha coffee, with processing and drying infrastructure in place alongside the beautiful large house from which the farm takes its name. Our partnership with Liliana began in 2017, and we’re proud to continue connecting her and her coffee with roasters and coffee lovers around the globe.
Liliana Caballero Rojas (right) with Ally Coffee COO Ricardo Pereira at Hacienda Casablanca
Ally: Where does your farm name come from?
Liliana: The main white Casona (big house) has a facade that imitates in some way the famous White House in the United States. The house dates back to 1835 and is constructed in rammed earth, wood, and bamboo [with] references [to] the White House, [called] “Casa Blanca” in Spanish.
A: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
L: I like to ride bikes and look up information about specialty coffee.
A: What’s your favorite food to have with coffee?
L: I call it the perfect pairing: coffee and chocolate cake with arequipe (Colombian dulce de leche).
The main Casona (big house) of Hacienda Casablanca
A: What does coffee mean to you?
L: [Coffee] is my family’s project and mine. It’s the passion and drive to keep moving forward. It’s the motivation to help the many families (like the families of workers at the farm) I know and appreciate.
A: How has your work changed as a result of your relationship with importers and roasters?
L: It’s been very beneficial to spread the word about what we do on the farm [and] the additional effort we make to produce specialty coffee. To be seen worldwide motivates us and fills us with pride, it drives us to give our best every day.
A: What has changed in your perspective as a coffee grower over the past five or ten years?
L: I consider that every year my perspective changes because of the drastic changes in climate, the constant changes in the international dynamics of the market, the consumers that are always expecting better things and to taste different flavors, and the workforce and the technologies that make the market more competitive every time.
The well-organized drying area of Hacienda Casablanca
A: What is one message you’d like to share with the coffee community?
L: Don’t forget that behind every cup of coffee there’s a story worth knowing. And, please, try to drink only good coffees.
A: What do you hope to see for the future of your farm? What do you hope to see for the future of coffee more broadly?
L: For the future of Casablanca, we want to benefit many of our neighbors with the progress we make in commercial and other processes, [and for] sustained growth and positioning of the region (in the coffee market). [We hope to be] responsible with the environment, helping families and new generations that want to enter this marvelous world that is coffee.
For coffee in general, we hope for an increase in consumption through the knowledge of the benefits that [coffee] brings to our well-being. [We hope] to see specialty coffee in a future with more recognition and appreciation, and for many more people to get to know the [process] of coffee to fall in love with it.