Colombia is a coffee heavyweight producing around 11 million bags per year. This volume places it third globally behind Vietnam and Brazil in total production. For this reason Colombia is often intimately associated with coffee by consumers. Colombia’s coffee production is extremely unique in that it has no easily definable harvest season. The two mountain ranges that run north to south across the length of the country are used as the defining boarders between regions. This physical division creates individual microclimates that drastically impact the seasons of the coffee trees and result in an origin that is harvesting 365 days a year.
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 the majority of coffee is 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. Furthermore it is common to get variance in humidity level and bean density which can impact the overall quality of the lot. While many of these Coop lots are of extremely high quality it has been the mission of the specialty industry to isolate and separate the coffee from the very best producers.
This lot is made up of 5 small producers in this region from 8 Villages where they are harvesting between May and July on small farms from 1ha to 5ha. Popayan is the capital of the Cauca Department; the name comes from the indigenous Quecha people from the word "Pampayán" meaning ‘Valley of the River’. Timbio is the region just 15km south of Popayan where the altitude and fertile soils provide the perfect conditions for growing coffee in an area until quite recently was still heavily influenced by the Guerrilla’s and FARC. Through agronomy training and support from Banexport (exporter) the farmers have learnt when is best to select and pick the coffee when it is at its ripest depending on the varietal. After picking the coffee is de -pulped on a small machine on the farm before undergoing a dry fermentation for 22 hours to loosen the mucilage. After this the coffee is then washed 3 – 4 times to clean it before being dried in parabolic tents for between 8 – 12 days where they move the coffee three times a day to ensure an even and consistent drying. Once the coffee has dried down to below 11% the farmers then let the coffee rest for 20 days before delivering to the local collection point. Here it is graded and checked for the correct moisture before being cupped and allocated to the corresponding quality level.