Rodrigo Sánchez, along with his wife, Claudia Samboni, and daughter, Natlia, is the coffee entrepreneur in charge of Finca El Progreso and Monteblanco. Monteblanco's name comes from its location, perched on the very top of a mountain, and often surrounded by clouds. Rodrigo has been farming coffee for almost 15 years now, and, as of late, has started involvement in projects with three innovative partners in his locale, each with a complementary focus. Elkin Guzman, of Pitalito, Huila, has been working with Rodrigo to foster specific methodology on the applications of experimental and varietal specific processing. Rodrigo has also been working in partnership with Jairo Ruiz of Banexport on "Monteblanco—Banexport Experimental Farm 2", a variety-specific experimental farm. Lastly, Rodrigo has developed a close relationship with a coffee cupper in Pitalito: Wbeimar Lasso. Rodrigo states, "He has been a crucial influence in my career, because he guides me, and he has helped me to find the true potential of my coffee."
Rodrigo first developed a curiosity to experiment with his coffees when he, along with Wbeimar's confirmation of nuances in cupping notes, discovered "La Caturra Purpura," or Purple Caturra. Only 26 trees out of a lot of 20,000 had this unique mutation in their development of leaf growth. Rodrigo now has now bred an entire lot of this variety in his second experimental farm.
It is farmers like Rodrigo who greatly excite us, as they are pushing our world of specialty coffee to new limits, identifying specific varieties, and experimenting with the use of current technologies to define the processing techniques these coffees deserve. This vector on the production side will undeniably call for a deepening response from roasters with the same ambition.