L’Aroma is our group lot composed of beans sourced from small farmers in and around the Nariño region, specifically the Buesaco and Tablon de Gomez. This area has had its fair share of turmoil in the past, therefore coffee production has brought a sense of security. For the local community, coffee has always been a symbol of hope and a means to foster peace and improve their way of life.
Ideon Muñoz is one of the contributing farmers, running Finca El Limón. This hard-working coffee grower lives in the small community of Tablon de Gomez and has already been part of other group lots, such as Café Buesaco. You can read more about here.
Ideon lives at the farm with his family. He has a daughter, who is passionate about law and is currently pursuing her degree in the city of Pasto, located at a distance of two hours from their home.
“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
Finca El Limón, situated just a short 15-minute drive from his home. Its farm size is just over 1 hectare, a typical feature for the region. Finca El Limón is home to around 7,800 coffee plants of the Castillo and Tabi varieties and sits at an elevation of 1,900 meters.
The contributing farms of L’Aroma Nariño Honey sits at an elevation range from 1,700 to 2,100 m.a.s.l. This group lot is composed primarily of Caturra, Colombia, and Castillo varieties. The honey processing method involves first removing the outer fleshy fruit layer, and then allowing the cherries to ferment without adding water for 48 hours. The final step is to dry the beans for approximately 12 days, depending on the weather.
The Coffee Quest creates group lots like L’Aroma with care and strict procedures. To begin, our Team in Colombia evaluate the samples delivered to our regional stations and ensure whether they meet our requirements (only coffee scoring 85+). Then, the lot is cupped multiple times at the warehouse using samples from each bag to reach consistency. After the final approval, the parchment coffee is ready for packaging and milling.
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.
L’Aroma is an example of the hard work of producers whose lots have not achieved micro-lot quality, but still represent a clean, approachable cup. The context of coffee farming in Colombia is still complex and fair prices for smallholder producers, like Ideon, are still not the standard. Rewarding their efforts is one of our objectives that we meet by focussing on transparency when communicating prices to farmers.
In the Tablón de Gomez region alone, there are approximately 2,500 small-scale producers who utilise the natural resources of the area to cultivate their crops. The farmers contributing to L’Aroma Nariño Honey enjoy mineral-rich soils. This is due to the fact that they are located in the area of the Volcanic Chain of the Coconucos. This group of 12 aligned volcanoes offers exceptional conditions for the growth of coffee beans.