Farm: Finca Los Pomos
Processing: Fermented for 36 Hours, washed & sun dried
Altitude: 1,800 metres above sea level
Owner: Hugo Fernando Correa
Town / City: Jardin
Overall: Praline, chocolate & bright acidity.
Los Pomos (Jardin) - Colombia
Finca Los Pomos is a family-run business owned by four coffee producers and friends - Hugo Fernando, Julián David, Carlos Andrés and William Correa. All four partners have been immersed in coffee their entire lives. Their parents were all coffee producers, and the four men grew up depending on coffee to put food on their tables. By the age of 12, all four were directly involved in helping their families cultivate and process coffee. Because of their shared love of coffee farming and their extensive experience, after finishing secondary school in 2006, the four gentlemen decided to band together and buy a farm. Starting with just 4 hectares, they expanded their land holdings in subsequent years to include the Fincas Las Copas, La Ilusión and El Refugio, ultimately reaching the current 23 hectares of land that compose Finca Los Pomos today. The entire area is planted under Colombia and Caturra varieties, much of which grows under the shade of banana, plantain, and naranjilla (a type of citrus native to Latin America). While all four men remain involved, Hugo Fernando is responsible for overseeing most of the work on the farm.
Care for coffee occurs on a strict schedule to make the most of Antioquia’s weather patterns. In August, selected seeds are germinated, and in October they are replanted into rich soil in the nursery. Finally, in March, the most viable coffee seedlings are planted out.
The Finca conducts four rounds of weeding a year - in January, April, July and October – and makes three applications of fertiliser annually for plots that are currently in production. Newly renovated areas receive up to five fertilisations to sustain the growing saplings.
Renovation through pruning is conducted every 7 years after new trees are planted out. Additional pruning will be conducted according to the particular needs of the plants.
Coffee is harvested by hand, with passes being made every 20 days to ensure only the ripest cherries are selected. William Correa is responsible for overseeing all harvest activities, and he makes sure that workers do not leave mature cherries on the trees and that they only pick ripe cherries.
Coffee is pulped approximately six hours after harvesting. In the afternoon, the coffee is dry pulped (helping to mitigate the environmental impact of processing), and the coffee mucilage is removed using demucilager. The coffee is then left to soak in a water-filled tank overnight. The following day, the water is refreshed and newly harvested and pulped coffee is added to the mix at mid-day and in the afternoon. This process is common throughout Antioquia, where day’s pickings can be small and may not compose an entire lot.
The Finca dries about 55% of their coffee with a mechanical drier. The remaining 45% (including this lot) is sun dried. When perfectly dried, the coffee is stored in a private warehouse on wooden pallets, situated well-away from the walls.
The Finca employs 15 permanent workers and 25 seasonal labourers. It is not unusual for everyone to meet up to play football and hang out.
The owners of Los Pomos are passionate members of their local growers’ cooperative - the Cooperativa de Caficultores de Andes (Cooperandes) - through whom all her coffee is commercialised. Founded in 1961, Cooperandes, receives coffee from more than 11,000 smallholders living in the foothills of the 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 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. 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 the owners of Los Pomos gain more visibility on the international market and helping producers in Antioquia transform their quality of life.
In the coming years, the Finca plans to focus on improving their productivity by increasing the density of their sowings and by implementing only the best agricultural practices.