Miller Walles Cruz is something of a pioneer in his family. He and his eight brothers were lucky enough to inherit a large estate in Colombia’s Huila region, which they decided to divide up between them. Having previously grown sugar cane, when Miller moved into his plot he made the switch to coffee, seeing a better paying and more reliable market, especially in specialty coffee.
The move turned out to be the right one, with coffee supporting him and his family much better than sugar cane ever had, and it inspired seven of his brothers to also grow coffee. His younger brothers Simon and Alexander have also taken to specialty coffee, and we’re lucky enough to count the three of them amongst our partners, with Simon’s El Triunfo and Alexander’s Bella Vista joining Miller’s Finca La Morelia on our shelves.
Located in Paicol, part of Colombia’s famed Huila region in the east, Miller grows coffee on about 10 hectares of his Finca, reserving some of the old-growth forest in its natural state to preserve the biodiversity of the region. Most of the trees are Variedad Colombia, which is joined by smaller plots of Caturra, Pink Bourbon, Tabi, and, since 2020, some Geisha too. He processes most of his coffees with a honey process that combines fermentation both on beds and in tanks.
Life at Finca Morelia is cyclical, following the seasons and the coffee harvest. The winters involve quiet upkeep of the farm, where Miller and his wife Dadny Salinas and eldest son Rivaldo prepare for the coming harvest season. In the summer, it’s all hands on deck as Miller calls in his extended family and hires some temporary pickers to help with the harvest.