Production in Colombian is very much dominated by small holders that band together into Cooperatives and grower’s associations. This means the vast majority of coffee in Colombia comes in big lots that contains coffee from many growers. This is further complicated by the fact that coffee is mainly processed on the farm by the producers. Depending on the mind set and skill of the individual producer you may have great coffee being mixed with average coffee. The varying climates present challenges to small holder farmers to harvest and process their crop in stable conditions. The geography of the land creates an environment where we see multiple harvests taking place at various times across the different coffee producing regions. We are continuously working with our export partners to find producers with good practises and methods to produce stable and high-quality cupping coffees.
San Lorenzo – Producer Group
This producer group is part of the Cooperativa de Caficultores de Alto Occidente de Caldas which was established in 1964. The San Lorenzo indigenous group are based in the Rio Sucio municipality of Caldas where there are 11,500 inhabitants with 1,150 farmers producing coffee within 21 communities. Until recently, this region was heavily inhabited by the FARC, ELN, Paramilitary groups and guerrillas, who looked to control this central corridor in Colombia. This region has not been known for specialty production but as the local tensions ease and access has improved, it is now possible to demonstrate the quality of the coffees available.
The indigenous inhabitants believe in the Pacha Mama, where they see the land as a living being. To them it is their duty to protect the natural environment and have as little impact as possible from their farming of coffee and to leave it as it has always been. Each farmer has approximately 0.5 hectares of land in which they have about 2500 coffee trees. In this lot there is in total 179 producers coffee, who have each delivered small amounts of parchment that has been assessed and categorised as specialty coffee. There is good recording of each farmer contributions and receipts, giving full traceability about the construction of this lot.
During the harvest season, families will work with their neighbours to select ripe cherry before depulping in micro-beneficios where they will then de-pulp and ferment the coffee in water for 16 -24 hours, depending on the weather. The coffee is then washed and put out to dry on small drying patios on the roofs of the houses it for between 8 – 14 days. They then deliver it to the Cooperative where, it is assessed and categorised, allowed to rest and then milled for shipment.