roast profile: ESPRESSO
tasting notes: PANELA - STONE FRUITS - TOASTED WALNUTS
location: PLANADES TOLIMA
producer: LA ORQUIDEA (Asprocafees Cooperative)
variety: CATURRA, COLOMBIA
process: FULLY WASHED
elevation (MASL): 1.450 - 2.000
COLOMBIA La Orquidea
Seeking better prices for their coffees, 10 entrepreneurs in Planadas, Tolima founded the Asociación De Productores De Café Especial La Orquídea (Asoprocafees) in 2014. The group’s numbers soon swelled to 30 and then 50+ members who remain committed to getting better prices by improving the quality and sustainability of their coffee.
The cooperative has focused on certifying and training its producers to achieve Fairtrade Organic (FTO) certification. To do this, they have invested in constructing, improving and maintaining all the infrastructure that it takes to produce excellent coffee. This includes building warehouses, improving roads and continuing to educate their farmers on harvest and processing methods.
Tolima lies deeply nestled in the Central Andes. While the climate is well suited for coffee production, Tolima has remained a less popular region due to the prevalence of armed conflict and drug trafficking. Many farming communities have been caught in the crosshairs of these conflicts. More recently, the region has had an opportunity to open up and reduce incidents of violence and drug production or smuggling. Despite its complicated past, Tolima is Colombia’s third largest coffee producing department.
In such conditions, producer organizations play an important role in transforming their communities. Associations or cooperatives can create more jobs and make coffee appear more appealing to young people. Many groups in the region organize courses and training to develop barista skills, quality control or even business management.
In a region where the job availability outside of coffee farming is very limited, providing new opportunities for work is essential to draw young people away from becoming involved in the endless cycle of violence and criminality. On top of all the community-wide benefits, being part of a cooperative helps producers gain much better access to support on an agronomical, commercial and economic level.