Colombia Select

Smallholder coffees with distinct profiles

$ 3.00 USD

Product Description

We have been working with a group of certified organic coffees from Colombia for some years now. We are working with an exporter that also has their own purchasing point (bodega) and agronomists in the Tolima region.

These coffees are from small to medium-sized farmers in and around the town of Planadas. And the cool thing is that it’s surprisingly many young growers with their own farms. Many of them in altitudes up towards 2000 masl, and some at good sizes too, up to 10 hectares and more. And they know how to prepare coffee well. Besides the producers that are organic already, many are in transition. And if all goes well we will increase the program with organic producers here. We have been consistently paying a premium above the market price for organic coffees to the producers over the past 3/4 years. This year (2021) the internal price in Colombia has surpassed our premium.

The farmers we buy from work in relationship with our exporter and their team of agronomists to manage quality control. The producers deliver the parchment to a Bodega where the coffees will be analyzed, cupped, and kept separate for our approval. The purchasing point is managed by a great, young team. They are also producers and have a good network of young producers and credibility among the farmers who deliver to the bodega. The quality parameters they work with are Yield Factor 91, 11% H, and then they have different cup score tiers for micro-lots and regional coffees.

Tolima

Tolima lies just north of Huila in the Central/south part of the country. It has its main harvest around June - August, unlike other regions like Huila they are mainly having one harvest period per year. We have worked there for years, but not with organic coffees. There have been some tough decades in Tolima, and they have been very affected by the guerilla activities. Previously it was dangerous to travel in many of the coffee-growing areas, but it has settled down lately. The farmers really need our and your support, and there is tons of potential.

The flavor profiles of Tolima are slightly different than that of the other regions we buy from. They can typically be bright and delicate, with subtle fruit and berry notes. Many of them also with nice and clean cocoa-like sweetness.

Picking

Coffees are picked in 3-4 passes. Meaning the producers/workers pick the more or less ripe cherries in one block. Then they might wait a few weeks until it’s again a decent amount of ripe cherries to pick in that same place. Generally, the first and last pass is of lower quality, and the second and third will be considered as the best, with more ripe cherries and uniform quality. When we can, we try to buy parchment harvested in these two passes.

Processing

The coffee from Tolima is generally fully washed, meaning pulped and fermented the traditional way. There are a few exceptions where farmers are using eco-pulpers with mechanical removal of mucilage, and/or are doing honey, but it’s still not too common.

Dry fermentation

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. The pulp the cherries in the afternoon. The coffees are going straight from the pulper into the fermentation tank. It can sit there for one to two days, depending on the temperature. A higher temperature will speed up the fermentation process, and a lower temperature will slow it down. Some producers do intermediate rinsing with water, which can also help them control the process.

Washing and grading

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 drying.

Drying

For the smallholders in regions like Tolima, the coffees are commonly sun-dried in parabolic dryers that almost work as greenhouses. The better producers have well-ventilated facilities. There are many different variations and constructions, but generally, they are all systems that are 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.

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