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.
The Kaizen program has been set up by Lohas beans to look at improving methodology and the standards of production by empowering growers and technician with knowledge and education on the formal process of producing coffee. The natural is compromised of two producer groups, La Pradera from Santander and Agroprocem from Planadas in Tolima. These groups only produce small amounts where the processing and drying of the cherry is monitored by the trained staff at the association who cup and select the best lots. These lots are then sent to the centralised Kaizen team under Lohas who cup and select from the best lots to create appropriately sized lots for export form these initial small amounts.
When the cherries are collected the they are floated and washed and then undergo a quick drying for 20-24 hours to prevent any fungus build up and allowing the fermentation process to beige. The coffee is then dried for the next 16-20 day in a slow long process as the humidity is steadily lowered. Once the coffee has reached 15% the coffee is then finished down to below 11% in a mechanical drier at low temperatures. It is then left to rest and stabilise before being milled ready for export.