21 Jul La Victoria, a pearl from old guerrilla territory in Huila
Last year we were contacted though facebook by a Colombian woman living in the US who asked if we were interested in trying some coffee from her native village high in the mountains of Huila. Sure, we said, a little intrigued. And a few weeks later a young guy rang the doorbell of our office in Medellin with in his arms a huge bag with more than 25 samples. Andrés was the representative of the association La Victoria in Santa Maria, he had spent 18 hours in a night-bus to meet us personally. We talked with him for a few hours until he had to catch the next night-bus back.
He told us that Santa Maria, in the foothills of the Huila volcano had been closed off from the rest of the country for decades because of the guerrilla in the region. There are only two narrow unpaved access roads along dangerous precipices, so it was impossible for the authorities to enter the area. This is fortunate for specialty coffee lovers; the Coffee Federation never came here. This means almost all farmers of La Victoria grow Caturra or Typica varietals. Hardly any converted to Castillo. And when we cupped the samples a few days later, we were in awe. This was the best set of samples we had ever received. These were farmers, just doing what they’ve been doing for ages, they could only sell their coffee to local buyers for below-market prices, so they were never focussed on specialty processes. But we cupped coffees ranging from 84 to 88 points on the SCAA scale. Just imagine what they can achieve with just a little improvement.
In November of last year, we visited the village during an eventful trip full of flooded roads and night time drives along those same precipices. We were not disappointed, meeting the farmers, exited to start working with us. Two of the youngest members in the group have since visited us in our lab for short internships about quality control. And now the harvest has started. And we’ve been cupping great coffees again.
We want to help this group of farmers to preserve their heritage of great coffees and we want them to receive a good price for them. We are training them in quality management, helping them to set up a cupping lab. We will also start working with them to optimise fermentation processes. So, we hope to be able to buy many beautiful micro lots here. But, we’re not only buying micro-lots.
We aim to buy a large part of the total harvest of the 30 members. We blend all the lots that are not good enough as micro-lots of 86 points and up, and we’ve ended up with this great coffee of 84-85 points. And we’ve got a lot available (see below).
To be able to guarantee a great harvest for the members of La Victoria we want to sell as much as possible in advance. We’ve got a bunch of samples available of this blend, so order some quickly. We’re harvesting now,
So, we have to be fast. If not, the farmers are forced to sell their coffees due to lack of funds. We will be working with this group for many years. So, if you as a roaster are interested in building long term relations with producers. This is a great group. Order some samples quickly and let us know what you think!
Order samples now!
Name: LA VICTORIA BLEND 85
Farm: 30 farms
Producer: Asociación La Victoria
Location: Santa Maria, Huila, Colombia
Elevation: 1700 – 2200m
Varietal: Caturra 70%, Colombia/Castillo/Typica 30%
Process: Fully washed, sun / shade dried
Availability: 150 bags of 70kg
Certifications: None, but The Coffee Quest believes in paying farmers a fair price for their coffee. Because we are a small company we cannot afford to pay the yearly fees of the various certification organizations. But we always pay at least the price of certified coffee, but almost always significantly more than that, because we pay for quality.
Profile: Very sweet, balanced, chocolate, fruity, dark cane-sugar, medium acidity, medium body