Laboyano is the top-of-the-line group lot from our station in Pitalito, always with a generous portion of Pink Bourbon inside. The name of this coffee comes from the Laboyano’s Valley, as the area around the city of Pitalito is called. The term Laboyano is, indeed, the colloquial Spanish word to refer to people from this region. So, the name is a tribute to the hard work of several dedicated Laboyanos who produce these high qualty coffee varieties.
The town of Pitalito is strategically located for the coffee trade in Southern Huila, perfect for receiving coffee from the surrounding towns, Acevedo, Bruselas, Palestina, San Agustin, Oporapa, Timaná, and Suaza, all well-known names in the specialty coffee industry and towns where The Coffee Quest has already been buying coffees for years.
In Pitalito, The Coffee Quest has set up a station structure to pay higher prices for quality coffee. The infrastructure in Pitalito also allows us to better manage direct relationships with coffee farmers. This is possible through visiting regularly the farms, giving trainings, and organizing group workshops in our cupping lab. In this way, we can introduce feedback on a farmer’s processing methods and give them the opportunity to taste their coffee and learn about roasting and cupping.
Laboyano – Type 1 (Scoring 85 points): The name reflects the typical hard-working farmers that are part of this communal lot. The coffee is fully traceable and comprised primarily of lots from producers in and around the South of Huila, including Pitalito, Saladoblanco, Palestina, Acevedo, and La Argentina. The producers who contributed to this lot grow a mix of Caturra, Colombia, Castillo, Tabi, and Pink Bourbon, with farms sitting at a range of elevations between 1,600 and 2,000 meters.
The exciting part of Laboyano is that we make sure we always include a generous portion of Pink Bourbon. This local variety gives Laboyano its unique flowery and dried fruity notes. Pink Bourbon is a natural mutation of the Southern Huila. The peculiarity of this variety is that it has a beautiful flowery profile but it’s also a very sturdy and resilient coffee tree. This makes it extremely popular among buyers and farmers.
The other lots from Pitalito Station are selected based on producer groups, Laboyano is selected for its varieties. Like all our coffees, this communal lot is carefully constructed, with every single small lot individually cupped various times before being included within the main lot. In addition to cup quality, each coffee must meet strict physical requirements, including our guidelines for moisture content and water activity.
The first time a lot is cupped is when the producer brings a sample to our Pitalito 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 Colombia took the traditional buying station model but added a Quality Lab. The idea is to provide access to the specialty market to smallholder farmers. 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.
Laboyano represents the hard work of dedicated producers who work with us because they believe in our values and our model. They appreciate our transparency and the fact that we buy across all ranges of qualities that they produce in a harvest. Besides, we offer feedback on every single lot cupped (whether purchased or not) and as we can purchase across all ranges of quality, we can confidently ask producers to make adjustments in their processing, while reducing their concern over price volatility.
Pitalito is right in the busy heart of the coffee region of Southern Huila. The buying station provides a central point for a large network of smallholder farmers to get feedback on their coffee and practices. This will happen in person during visits at the station, but also during workshops and off-season farm visits by The Coffee Quest cupper. They will provide tailored advice on quality improvements, but also include the necessary knowledge to process coffee while taking the environment into account. Topics such as; turning coffee pulp into compost, disposing of the acidic wastewaters, but also advice on farm inputs.
Discover other stories from Colombia ...
Finca Alcatraz produces the tastiest pulped cherry called “cascara”, also known as coffee cherry tea. So no coffee, but a by-product treated with the same dedication!
This association of 50 members was formed in 2014 with the idea of producing organic coffee. Being in a tight-knit group of farmers is a considerable advantage when it comes to dealing with such certifications.