HOW COFFEE IS BOUGHT AND SOLD (HISTORY AND MARKET)
It is believed that coffee arrived in Colombia in the 18th century by Jeusuit priests, though export did not occur until the 19th century. The biggest early market for Colombian coffee was the United States, followed by Germany and France.
Colombia is currently the third largest producer of coffee after Brazil and Vietnam but is the largest producer of Arabica coffee (100% of Colombian coffee is Arabica). While traditionally coffee production was dominated by large estates, the dramatic fall of international coffee prices that began in the early-1990s saw the rise of smallholder producers.
Central to Colombia’s sustained market dominance of high quality Arabica coffee has been the presence of the Federación Nacional de cafeteros (FNC), Colombia’s coffee growers’ association, which was established in 1927. The FNC is made up of so many members that it is one of the biggest non-profit organizations in the world. Its mission is to ensure that Colombia’s coffee producers are empowered to make a good life for themselves through growing coffee in a sustainable manner and through being marketed in a way that positions it as amongst the best in the world. It accomplishes its mission through investing in research that helps optimize production and best technical practices.
We find great diversity amongst Colombian coffees – influenced primarily by the country’s diversity in soil, topography, microclimates, varieties, and increasingly, processing techniques.
OUR PARTNERS AT ORIGIN
La Palma & El Túcan
La Palma & El Túcan (LP&ET) is a place as much as it is community and an approach to coffee making.
The place is a coffee farm located in the Cundinamarca department and it is a farm that defies conventional ideas about what a coffee farm is: it grows only exotic coffee varieties; accommodates coffee guests in beautiful cabins nestled amongst coffee plants that overlook majestic views; it is a wet mill that processes coffee using the latest knowledge and techniques for coffee fermentation.
The community is made up of around 90 neighboring smallholder farmers to LP&ET’s own farm and these neighbors work together with LP&ET’s team to ensure that their coffee plantations are both producing the best cherries possible, while ensuring the land is nurtured by organically composted fertilizer.
The approach is informed by a constant striving for quality and innovation. The LP&ET team is persistently looking out for better: from social/community, technological and environmental standpoints.
CCS has been LP&ET’s exclusive import partner in Europe since 2014.
Since the 2015 harvest season, we have been establishing some great relationships with farmers in the Huila and Tolima departments through Alejandro Renjifo and his team at Fairfield. The fact that we have been working with several producers through successive seasons from these areas is a testament to the Fairfield team’s dedication to both upholding strict quality standards, along with working closely together with their producing partners on agronomic and processing best practices.
The most exciting of the innovations that CCS and Fairfield have created together is the “Acevedo Cup”: a quality competition that gathers the best lots from farmers living in and around the Acevedo Municipality during the main harvest season. This event serves several purposes: it celebrates the best lots and producers each season; strengthens community by gathering producing families together in a forum where they can exchange new knowledge and technology; and allows CCS’ roasters to identify potential long-term partners.
The Fairfield team, while small, is made up of individuals who truly place coffee at the center of their world. This small team somehow manages to roast, cup and evaluate hundreds of lots per season, visit and consult with dozens of farmer partners throughout the year, and for a few on the team, manage their own or help their families manage their coffee farms on top of it all. Truly exceptional.
WHY colombian COFFEES SHOULD BE PART OF YOUR MENU
La Palma & El Túcan
Lactic: creamy, rich, tropical fruit, sweet
Honey: floral, honey, berries, tropical fruit
Mixed: clean, floral, fresh, crisp
Acetic: lemon peel, red apple, nice acidity, stone fruit
Huila: berries, stone fruit, clean, sweet, complex.
Tolima: citrus fruits, tropical fruits, sparkling acidity, lively.
HOW THE PRICE IS CONSTRUCTED
HIGH RESOLUTION PHOTOGRAPHS FOR DOWNLOAD
A gallery of high resolution photographs is available on Flickr for download. Please credit Collaborative Coffee Source.