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The concept behind this coffee is to acknowledge the importance and value of the largely unappreciated players in the coffee supply chain, coffee pickers. Pickers play an important role in producing great coffees, yet they are commonly some of the most vulnerable people in the coffee supply chain. In Colombia the labour of a coffee picker is dangerous and intensive and they are paid wages that do not justify the work involved. We see many pickers leaving this work for better alternatives.
This program exists through the collaboration of us as buyers with the exporter and local cooperative. The cooperative facilitates training a selected group of pickers and identifies a group of farmers to participate in the project. Where we as the buyers agree to pay a premium for the coffees to cover the additional costs involved in ensuring the pickers receive a better salary.
This concept will both promote integrity in what we pay for coffees through the supply chain and in addition should result in better quality coffees due to better cherry selection.
By buying this coffee you are insuring the pickers get a better salary, as well as paying the farmers a price that allows them to live and continue producing coffee.
The coffee from Narino is generally fully washed, meaning pulped and fermented the traditional way. There is a few exceptions where farmers are using eco-pulpers with mechanical removal of mucilage, and/or are doing honeys, but it’s still not to common.
This is the most common and widely used method. The farmer will have a small beneficio, a small manual or electric pulper and a fermentation tank. They pulp the cherries in the afternoon. The coffees are going straight from the pulper in to the fermentation tank. It can sit there from one to two days, depending on the temperature. Higher temperature will speed up the fermentation process, and lower temperature will slow it down. Some producers do intermediate rinsing with water, that can also help them control the process.
They normally stir the coffees in tanks or small channels before they remove the floaters. For the ones without channels it’s common to wash the coffees in the fermentation tank and skim off the floaters before it goes to the drying.
For the smallholders in regions like Huila the coffees are commonly sun dried in parabolic dryers that almost works as green houses. The better producers have well ventilated facilities. There are many different variations and constructions, but generally they are all systems that is able to protect the coffee from rain. We have generally seen that the producers that have constructions with good ventilation and manage to dry the coffee down to below 11% in 10 – 18 days often have very good and consistent coffees.