Antioquia lying to the North West of Bogota is one of the biggest coffee producing Departments in Colombia with 94 of its 125 municipalities producing coffee showing the economic importance of coffee to the 6 million people who live there.
With the help of Co-op Andes, we have identified smallholders with farms ranging from 1 to 3 hectares, with the potential to produce specialty grade coffee. All the producers of these micro lots have benefited from the Delos Andes training programme, which has helped them to create composting systems, make regular soil analyses for targeted fertiliser application and to increase yield and quality. Many of the producers inherited a few hectares of land from family members who have been producing coffee for generations. The co-op can help with education around problems such as drying; something which is pertinent to this region as they can experience high humidity and rainfall during the harvest/drying periods.
All producers who are associated with the Micro lot program will receive initial payments for their parchment on arrival, relating to the quality they deliver. Once cupped, the coffee will be highlighted and stored separately in the mill. When the coffee is sold, the producers then receive a further 60% of the sale profits that the coffee is sold for. All producers have access to the contracts and final sale prices of their coffees ,as well as having access to exchange rates on the days of conversion into local currency for full transparency.
La Bonanza has been owned by Hernan de Jesus for 22 years from when he purchased it to start growing his own coffee and replanting. Now the farm has 15000 trees spread across the 4.5 ha with banana trees planted for shade. Hernan and his family live on the farm and work to continually improve the quality of the coffee they produce. As the farm is too much for the family to manage during the harvest they need to employ local pickers to help them collect the ripe cherry.
During the harvest once the cherry has been pulped it is then placed in tanks for 18-24 hours of wet fermentation and turned 3 times each day in this period. From here the coffee is then dried on a roof top when the sun out or there is no rain. This can take between 8-14 days usually depending on the weather pattern.