Coffee Origen is an association of 109 Colombian coffee growers organically certified in accordance to United States, European and Japanese standards. All of the coffee growers are from the South of Colombia, in Huila, in the following regions: Isnos, San Agustin, Acevedo and Pitalito. In total, the group grows on 272 Hectares of land and between the main and mid-harvest, have the capacity to produce over 30 containers of organic coffee per year!
Carlos Neuta, who runs Coffee Origen is extremely passionate about the environment and organic products and the way the group of growers is structured, clearly reflects that. Some producers have their own organic laboratories within the farm, but if not, each region has a Central Lab where producers can get any organic product necessary for their farm. Not only this, but it’s setup in a way that makes the products cost effective. The products are not pre-made, but instead are in bulk form and created based on the need of each grower. The group has a technician that advises on the ratio of nutrients to use, depending on the need/purpose. For example, there are fertilizers that they can create for flowering, for cherry development and even for recuperation post-harvest. There is also a fumigation product they can create in the laboratory that can be used for controlling diseases such as rust. In addition, some of the growers who have their own labs, have been able to generate additional income by selling some of these products to other producers in the area (outside of the group). Coffee Origen has an agreement in place technician/advisor on organic products, and for now, while the producers do have to pay for his services, Carlos’ hope for the future is that one day the association will be able to pay for the services for members of the group.
Coffee Origen has their main warehouse in Pitalito, which is a central location for all growers in the group to deliver their parchment coffee. Upon arrival to the warehouse, the coffee is evaluated physically and for cup quality and then separated within the warehouse. Another thing that attracted us to the group is their focus on quality! Many certified organic groups just throw all coffee into one pile, whereas Coffee Origen has the ability to profile by region and cup quality. In addition, after our visit, it was clear that the mutual respect Carlos and the growers have for each other is something special. For this reason, amongst the many others, we are extremely excited to be working with them! This is our first year buying from Coffee Origen, but we hope the quality of their coffees can help change the perception of the potential of organic coffees.
Collaboration & Quality
We had the opportunity to visit the group back in August 2018 and found ourselves extremely impressed by the level of detail, organization and commitment the group makes to producing organically certified coffees. They understand that the yields can oftentimes be lower, but they care more about the environment than loss of production. The chemicals they historically used were killing the fauna in the area, but the organic, natural products they now use, are attracting wild-life back to the farms.
The range of elevations of the farms is from 1,350 m.a.s.l to 1,900 m.a.s.l. and they grow the following varieties: Caturra, Castillo, Colombia, Tabi and a small amount of Bourbon and Geisha. The main harvest runs from October to January and the mid-harvest runs from May through July.