Colombia San Lorenzo
Location: Rio Sucio, Caldas
Owner: San Lorenzo Group
Process: Wet Processed
Varietal: Caturra, Castillo, Colombia
Altitude: 1600-2200 Masl
Coffee processing - drying in the sun on the roof patio
Coffee in Colombia:
Production in Colombia is very much dominated by small holders who band together into Cooperatives and grower’s associations. This means that the vast majority of coffee in Colombia comes in big lots and contains coffee from many growers. This is further complicated as this 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. It can be a hit or a miss!
The varying climates also present challenges for small holder farmers for harvesting and processing their crops in stable conditions. The geography of the land creates an environment where multiple harvests take place at various times across the different coffee producing regions. Our coffee importer spends a lot of time continuously working with export partners to find producers with good practises and methods that produce stable and high-quality cupping coffees.
San Lorenzo – Producer Group
This producer group is part of the Cooperativa de Caficultores de Alto Occidente de Caldas which was established in 1964. The San Lorenzo indigenous group are based in the Rio Sucio municipality of Caldas where there are 11,500 inhabitants with 1,150 farmers producing coffee within 21 communities. (wow!) Until recently, this region was heavily inhabited by the FARC, ELN, Paramilitary groups and guerrillas, who looked to control this central corridor in Colombia. This region has not been known for specialty production but, as the local tensions ease and access improves, it is now possible to demonstrate the quality of the coffees available.
The indigenous inhabitants believe in the Pacha Mama - they see the land as a living being. To them it is their duty to protect the natural environment and have as little impact as possible from their farming of coffee: they want to leave the land as it has always been. Each farmer has approximately 0.5 hectares of land in which they have about 2500 coffee trees. In this coffee lot, a total of 179 coffee producers have each delivered small amounts of parchment that has been assessed and categorised as specialty coffee. It is ethically source - there is a good record kept of each farmer's contributions and receipts, giving full traceability about the construction of this lot.
During the harvest season, families will work with their neighbours to select ripe cherry before de-pulping in micro-beneficios: they will then de-pulp and ferment the coffee in water for 16 -24 hours, depending on the weather. The coffee is washed and put out to dry on small drying patios on the roofs of the houses, for between 8 – 14 days. They then deliver it to the Cooperative where, it is assessed and categorised, allowed to rest and then milled for shipment.