La Sierrita is our fully traceable group lot from small farmers in Giraldo, known for its high altitude. The name takes its roots from the village within the town (Vereda La Sierrita), where the majority of the producers, who contributed to this lot, has their farm. The Coffee Quest Colombia has been supporting the community of Giraldo for several years, focusing on social and environmental impact (women empowerment, health services, water treatment system).
Marco Marín, our project manager in Colombia, is our impact quester. Marco is actively involved in doing research, visiting farmers, identifying their needs, developing our projects and collecting the funds needed to start and run the initiatives. Thanks to Marco and our local presence in Colombia, we are able to provide support, tailored feedback on quality and organise group trainings for the local farming community.
“With my work at The Coffee Quest, I feel we are contributing to people’s lives. This makes me happy as I’m closer to my personal goal: providing the farmers with tools to develop themselves” – Marco Marin, The Coffee Quest Colombia
According to Marco, the current problem in Colombia is the average age of farmers (65 years old). There are not enough young people willing to work in the fields, even if growing coffee is the main income in Colombia. The main reason is that most of them don’t know how much their coffee is worth, what happens after they deliver it and how modern technologies can improve and make easier their production. By training them and educating young people, Marco believes they can be inspired and can change their mind.
“The only way to get young people excited about farming is to show the sharing benefits of growing high quality coffee“ – Marco Marin, The Coffee Quest Colombia
La Sierrita – Type 1 is a group lot that reaches a consistent 85 point–quality. The profile is stable and shows a vibrant acidity in combination with pleasant sweet milk chocolate and citric notes. This communal lot is carefully constructed. This means that every single small lot is individually cupped various times before being included within the main lot. Remarkable: The Antioquia bean is one of the densest beans we are finding in Colombia at the moment.
La Sierrita lot is a true high altitude Colombian coffee. The cherries mature slower on the high slopes of Antioquia, developing into denser coffee beans. As a result, the acidity in the La Sierrita group lot, is clean and juicy, making this a nice filter or complex sweet espresso.
All the supplying farms are sitting at an altitude range between 1,700 and 2,200 meters above sea level. The varieties grown by these farmers are Caturra, Colombia, and Castillo.
In addition to cup quality, each coffee must meet strict physical requirements, including our moisture content and water activity guidelines. The first time a lot is cupped is when the producer brings a sample to our buying station. Upon approval, the producer will then bring the lot down to the warehouse where it will be cupped again, taking a sample from each sack to ensure consistency. Upon final approval, the parchment coffee is packed in grain-pro and remains untouched until the entire lot is milled.
The Coffee Quest pays above market price for the coffee produced, but it also creates programs to develop skills for self improvement within the community. La Sierrita represents the hard work of dedicated producers who work with us because they believe in our model and values of transparency. This coffee contributes to an important part of the supply because it is a highly well-processed coffee that might not hit “single-farm micro-lot” quality, but nonetheless, it deserves fair payments.
As The Coffee Quest is able to buy large quantities of all ranges of qualities our farmers produce while paying fair prices, we can confidently ask producers to make adjustments in their processing. By doing this, we can reduce their concern over price volatility. For this reason, we offer feedback on every single lot cupped (whether purchased or not).
The Coffee Quest identified some of the struggles the community faced and started working with the locals to implement programs and improve their living conditions in several ways. One of them is the installation of two new water treatment systems which will improve the health of all residents living in the area of La Sierrita and La Sierra.
Although the community is surrounded by abundant water, none of it is treated. In previous years there have been cases of members of the community sickened by untreated water, primarily affecting children. Therefore, Marco Marín of The Coffee Quest Colombia, decided to put the plan in action. The project has been partially funded, but there’s still a lot to do. Marco is working hard to find supporters across Colombia and Europe.
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Finca El Chaferote is located in San Agustín, Huila, Colombia, and managed by Erick Bravo, a third-generation coffee grower. The farm consists of 9 hectares of land, with 2.5 hectares considered a natural reserve, since the farm is located right on the banks of the Magdalena River. It sits at an elevation of 1,550 m.a.s.l, and boasts 22,000 coffee trees in production, with varieties ranging from Pink Bourbon, Colombia, Castillo, and Catimore.
Finca La Casita is located in Urrao, Antioquía, Colombia, and is managed by David Berrio, a second-generation coffee grower. The farm consists of 1.5 hectares of land, sitting at an elevation of 2,100 masl. With over 5,000 coffee trees, the farm is dedicated to growing the highly sought-after Chiroso variety.
Finca El Triunfo is located in Palermo, Huila, Colombia, and is managed by Audon Solano, a second-generation coffee grower. The farm consists of 26 hectares of land, with 3 hectares currently dedicated to growing coffee. It sits at an elevation of 1,800 m.a.s.l, with around 15,000 coffee trees in production, of the Caturra, Colombia and Tabi varieties.