Café Buesaco – Reaching and supporting small producers in Nariño

People

Café Buesaco is a group lot of different small Colombian growers from Nariño; more specifically from the region of Buesaco and Tablón de Gomez. Our aim is to support producers, acknowledge their hard work and reward their dedication.

Ideon Muñoz is one of the farmers contributing to the lot Café Buesaco. Supporting small producers like Ideon means buying their whole harvest and not just the best lots. This helps farmers to support their livelihood.

My   coffee   plants   have   given   me   the   chance   to   provide   for   my family, and to send my daughter to college in the city. ̈” – Ideon Muñoz

Farmers like Ideon Muñoz are an example of the resilience that the people of the region have shown over the past decades. The history of the region is characterised by a violent past. As for the coffee, the region is well-known for its production, providing safety and security to the locals. Growing coffee in this region has always had an important role for the people of Nariño. Coffee has always been a means of bringing peace and improving living conditions.

Ideon Muñoz is a farmer located in Tablon de Gomez. His farm El Limón is only 15 minutes away from his home where he lives with his wife and his daughter. Most farms in the region are relatively small. For example, Ideon’s farm El Limón is only about 1 hectare big and he has around 7,000 coffee plants. 

El Limón is situated at 1,900 masl and he is one of the farmers who contributed to the group lot with his Castillo coffee beans. As typical for the Southern regions of Colombia, Ideon harvests his coffee from May to August.

The main varieties contributing to this group lot consists of washed Caturra, Colombia and Castillo. Its quality can be partly attributed to the ideal natural growing conditions of an altitude between 1,650 and 2,000 metres above sea level and mineral-rich volcanic soil. Another factor worth acknowledging is the good and careful agricultural practices that the seven producers who contributed to this lot have exercised. 

Ideon produces and processes his coffee himself: he ferments his cherries for 24 hours. Then he de-pulps them and after ferments them for another 18 to 20 hours. The coffee is being dried in a parabolic dryer for about 15 to 20 days. The length of the drying process depends on the weather conditions. One of the pros of using a parabolic drying is that it takes the most advantage of any sunlight and protects the product from rain and dust. Considering the recent suboptimal weather conditions, such methods can be a solution.

In short: The Coffee Quest Colombia took the traditional buying station model, adding the element of education using a small laboratory space. The idea is to provide transparent feedback and access to the specialty market to smallholder farmers.

Hence, we aim to achieve that by incorporating sensorial characteristics into the buying decision, next to looking at the physical aspects of the coffee beans. Objective: Paying for quality using well-communicated and transparent pricing.

The buying stations in Nariño also give The Coffee Quest Colombia the opportunity to increase our trade relationships directly with coffee farmers. We regularly visit farmers, give training or organize group workshops in our cupping lab to introduce new processing methods or cupping techniques. By doing this, farmers have the opportunity to taste their own coffees or teach about roasting and cupping.

This is an excellent step towards better living income for producers who work hard on improving bean quality. Our experience shows that the station is a popular meeting place as farmer hang around to receive cupping results.

Price

The context of coffee farming in Colombia is still complex and fair prices for smallholder producers are still not the norm. The Coffee Quest has set fair price transparency as one of our key values. This is why, at our local stations in Colombia, we communicate pricing openly and honestly with farmers. Café Buesaco is an example of the hard work of producers whose lots have not achieved micro-lot quality, but still represent a clean, approachable cup.

Planet

The farmers contributing to Café Buesaco are located in the area of the Volcanic Chain of the Coconucos. It is a group of 12 aligned volcanoes whose soil creates the excellent nourishment for the coffee beans. Alone in the region of Tablón de Gomez, there are about 2,500 small producers taking advantage of these great natural resources.

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