Farm: Finca de Abraham
Varietal: 100% Colombia
Processing: Fermented for 24 hours and dried on parabolic beds
Altitude: 1,900 metres above sea level
Owner: Abraham Imbajoa
Town / City: Buesaco
Abraham Imbajoa (Nariño) - Colombia
The Department of Nariño is located in the southwest of Colombia, just above the equator and on the border with Ecuador. The region is strikingly mountainous and boasts no fewer than five volcanoes: Chiles (4,718 metres), Cumbal (4,764 metres), Azufral (4,070 metres), Doña Juana (4,250 metres) and Galeras (4,276 metres). Nariño has excellent conditions both in terms of humidity and temperature to keep coffee in parchment for ongoing export shipments, and its location on the equatorial line provides a great angle of sun exposure for the extremely steep hills around the volcano.
Coffee is grown at altitudes that reach 2,200 metres, some of the highest elevations at which coffee is grown in the world. The high altitude of cultivation allows for a slow, development of the coffee bean, which gives the cup profile of Nariño its unique characteristics.
Producers in this region are overwhelmingly small-holders, who manage their own self-sufficient wet-mills and patios (open or covered) for drying. Every family does their own harvesting - usually with the help of neighbours. After the red and ripe cherries are picked, they are pulped by passing them through a manual pulper at the family farm (usually located close to the main house). The waste from this process will be used later as a natural fertilizer for the coffee trees. Depending on the conditions, fermentation can range between 12 up to 48 hours. Some producers will add several layers of wet parchment over the course of a few days, which is thought to add complexity to the fermentation process and final cup profile. Luckily, Nariño is blessed with some of the best drying conditions in the country due to the micro-climate and high altitude of the region, providing lower relative humidity, more wind and more sunny days than other areas of the country.
Abraham Imbajoa has a beautiful farm on Nariño’s eastern edge in the municipality of Buesaco. His farm of 6 hectares of coffee is slightly larger than most in the regions, which tend to hover at the 1-2 hectare range. At 1,900 metres above sea level, his land is perfectly situated for high quality coffee production.
For decades, however, this area so well-suited to high quality coffee production was vastly underutilised. The hills surrounding Buesaco were incredibly hard hit by the violence that plagued Colombia throughout the 1990´s and was constantly being taken hostage by the FARC and ELN. Many of the growers here were extorted and were forced to leave their farms by armed groups if they were found helping their enemies. Things have changed dramatically in the past 10 years and many farmers have returned to the region to begin farming coffee anew. For farmers like Abraham, specialty coffee production finally provides a means of providing a sustainable income for his family after years of hardship and poverty.
Abraham is being helped along the way by participating in a quality improvement program run by his local producer organization. Buesaco con Altura (Buesaco with Altitude), a producer organization that Mercanta’s exporting partners for this coffee, Pergamino, has been working with to establish programs to improve coffee quality. The group is composed of coffee farmers from the municipality who seek to improve their quality of life by producing and selling coffee of the highest, specialty quality.