Farm: 3 farms from the town of Buenos Aires
Varietal: Caturra, Variedad 2000 & Castillo
Processing: Fully washed & dried on Patios & Marquesinas
Altitude: 1,910 to 2,025 metres above sea level
Owner: Gerardo Antonio Hoyos Bedoya, José Luis Salazar & Ramon Alexander Acevedo
Town / City: Andes, Buenos Aires
Overall: Cherry, pineapple, forest fruits, stewed fruits
Buenos Aires - Colombia
Buenos Aires, Andes lies high within the mountains of Colombia’s Antioquia department – one of the country’s most well-known coffee growing regions. The town was founded in the 1920s, partially to provide services to the sugar cane farmers and owners of ‘trapiches’ (mills for producing panela – or unrefined sugar) that formed the backbone of the economy at that time. Today Buenos Aires is small and peaceful and is renowned throughout the state as producing highly sought after coffee. The three producers who have contributed to this lot hail from the region and own farms that lie in the hills surrounding the town. As should be apparent in the cup, they make the most of their natural surroundings through stringent cultivation and processing practices: they are all committed to making Buenos Aires coffee the best that Colombia has to offer.
Gerardo Antonio Hoyos Bedoya, José Luis Salazar and Ramón Alexander Acevedo all come from coffee farming families and are all highly committed to producing better coffee. Their farms are small (all are around 2.5 hectares), but their love of coffee is huge. They have been working with the Cooperativa de Caficultores de Andes (Cooperandes), a regional cooperative, in order to improve their cultivation and processing practices as they realise that quality coffee is the key to quality of life for their families.
Founded in 1961, Cooperandes receives coffee from more than 11,000 smallholders living in the foothills of Antioquia’s Eastern Colombian Mountain range. Smallholder farmer members within the cooperative’s area of influence benefit from exceptional agro-ecological conditions that are ideal for growing coffee, and Cooperandes has funded multiple innovative initiatives to improve lives and quality of production for their members – including ‘coffee stores’ to facilitate access to crop inputs such as fertiliser and pest controls and an innovative micro-lot programme. Through the cooperative’s technical assistance and support (for instance, an educational program to create opportunities for the youth that they have established in partnership with the University of Antioquia and an extensive scholarship program), Cooperandes is helping producers such as these producers gain more visibility on the international market and helping producers in Antioquia transform their quality of life.
Although the farmers contributing to this lot have slightly different processing practices, all of their lots have been selectively harvested by hand and then pulped and fermented for around 24 hours, depending on the weather at the time. After fermentation, coffee is washed several times using clean, cool water.
After all traces of mucilage are removed, the parchment coffee is delivered to dry on parabolic beds, known locally as marquesinas, or on cement patios. Once the coffee reaches the desired humidity (11-12%) the coffee is bagged and brought to the Cooperandes warehouse to be graded. Each lot is cupped by the expert Cooperandes quality control team, who then determine if the coffee qualifies as a ‘microlot’ to be sold on the specialty market. In this case, the three producers who have contributed to Buenos Aires had submitted relatively small lots that were all similar in cup profile and were notable for their high quality. These have been married together to form this ‘Buenos Aires’ lot.
About Finca La Villa (Gerardo Antonio Hoyos Bedoya):
Gerardo Hoyos is 64 years old and has six children (one daughter and five boys), all of who have decided to go into the production of speciality coffee and whose individual farms are also located in Buenos Aires. The ‘Hoyos Family’ are well-known in the town their work ethic and for being close knit: although each one has their own farm, they work together and help one another with all the labour required to bring their coffee to harvest.
When Don Gerardo first started working in coffee he was only 12 years old, and from that moment onward his love of coffee knew no bounds. He founded Finca La Villa in 1980, planting 2000 trees of ‘Pajarito’ variety (one of the original coffee varieties planted in the country). There were many challenges over the years – successes too! – and as he raised his children on the farm, he used these opportunities to teach them that they had to work and fight hard for what they want in life.
Don Gerardo has been a devout Catholic since he was a young child, and when he purchased his farm he dedicated it to Jesus. It is for this reason that he regards his farm not simply as a piece of land on which to grow coffee but as a sacred space.
Finca La Blanquita (José Luis Salazar)
José Luis Salazar has owned Finca La Blanquita since 1981. He had worked in coffee from a very young age and had always wanted to produce very high quality coffee. When he purchased the farm, he finally had his opportunity. He recalls his joy when he was first able to renovate a plot on his new farm, planting 1,300 new Caturra trees. He knew it was the first step towards a promising future.
Today, after raising five children on the farm, José continues his commitment to producing the best quality coffee possible as a means of helping his family get ahead.
When José purchased his farm, it was already named ‘La Blanquita’. He decided to keep the name in honour of the previous owner, a widow who had lived many years on the farm.
Finca La Heliconia (Ramón Alexander Acevedo)
Ramón Alexander Acevedo’s farm, La Heliconia, was inherited from his father. Ramón has worked in coffee, helping his father, since he was a very young child. When Ramón married in 2003, he father gifted him a small parcel of land where he immediately built a house and began to plant coffee. He started with just 3,000 trees. Today he has expanded that to 9,000, all of which he cares for meticulously to produce coffee of the highest quality.
La Heliconia bears the name of Ramón’s father’s own farm. Although his children are still young, he hopes they carry on the same tradition.