Elder Brothers

Guardians of the Earth

The Lost City

The Kogi, Wiwa, Arhuaco, and Kankuamo believe that the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia is the beating heart of the world: what happens there happens everywhere. They are the Elder Brothers.

In a region spined by the Sierra Nevada – “snowy mountains” – and spanning tropical to icy climates, these tribes practice traditional meditations, rituals, and disciplines their distant ancestors promised would maintain an equilibrium echoing from their immediate vicinity throughout the world. When species in these mountains become extinct, so do important species elsewhere, says their history. When ice caps melt and rivers dry up, they also melt and dry up in widespread areas of the world.

As their Tayrona (Tairona) forebears did, they live off the land and strive to remain spiritually connected with it. The high mountains provide everything: food, water, and medicinal herbs, including the coca leaf. Each morning, the women of the community collect the sacred coca leaves. Each afternoon, the men toast them by tossing them in a bag that also contains a hot stone. The people chew toasted coca throughout the day, both for energy and to establish and maintain a connection with their surroundings.

Wiwa woman

The tribes are communitarian. They live an intact pre-Columbian high civilization that has served their people from the times before the Conquistadores. Mamas, spiritual leaders, study for years – often 14 years – before taking on the care of their communities. As children grow, adults teach them how to live in and by way of the transmitted bounty of their habitat.

We certainly are Younger Brothers to any of these tribes. Our way is to cultivate coffee in the highlands; to harvest, wash, dry, and mill it; to roast, grind, and drink its infusion. As the external world has seeped into the areas in which the Kogi, Wiwa, Arhuaco, and Kankuamo live, the tribes have chosen to coexist while keeping vigil and seeking harmony with the beating heart, and for the sake of, the world.

Snowy Mountain Coffee

The April Coffee of the Month is a smallhold offering of certified organic coffee grown in the Sierra Nevada region of Colombia. We were impressed with the quality of the beans and Nicole decided to invest in a large supply, to be introduced today and offered as Holler Roast’s Colombia bean for several months. The brew is very rich and balanced, developing a delightful succession of flavors: chocolate, of course; hazelnut; caramel; and peach, without excess acidity or overpowering body.