Farm: Smallholders of San Marcos, Timana Huila
Varietal: Caturra, Colombia
Processing: Fully washed
Altitude: 1,500 to 2000 metres above Sea Level
Owner: 110 producers from the Asociación de Productores Agricolas de Timaná ASPROTIMANA
Town / City: Timaná, Huila
Region: San Marcos
Smallholders of San Marcos. Timana, Huila - Colombia
Timaná is located in the south of Huila, 180 km away from the state´s capital, Neiva. It lies between the central and Cordillera Central and Occidental, near the famous Valley of Laboyos. It is a prime location for growing high quality Colombian coffee.
Working within this area is the producer organization, the Association of Agricultural Producers of Timaná (Asprotimaná). The association was created by a small group of coffee growers in 2002 as a way to increase their bargaining power and achieve a better price for their coffee. Their current members number 150 coffee producers, who, on average, produce around 10,000 bags of green coffee annually.
Fair Trade Certification initially permitted the group to build a small fund, which they used to build strong foundations and an infrastructure for the association – including a warehouse, a local cupping lab and pre-financing capabilities. By separating their best coffees and betting on cup quality rather than just relying on certification premiums, they have been able to grow this fund even further and use it for multiple programs, all to the benefit of the growers that are members of the association. The benefits range from crop insurance and technical assistance to discounts on fertilizer and farm equipment. Most importantly, members of Asprotimaná are assured crop financing, which helps farmers invest in the necessary inputs to achieve quality in the cup.
Every weekend during Huila’s harvest, Asprotimaná members bring their parchment coffee to the town of Timaná, where the association is based. There, each coffee is analysed and cupped by the association´s team of professional cuppers, who have been trained to the most exacting standards. If the coffee comes from a grower who has previously produced coffee of very high quality or if the coffee cups above 84 points, the sample is sent to Mercanta’s partner, Santa Barbara Estate Coffee, whose dry mill is located in Medellin. There, the coffee is cupped again by Santa Barbara’s team. Only samples of the very best coffees from each harvest are then sent through to Mercanta for our own assessment. During the 2014/15 harvest Santa Barbara cupped more than 1,500 samples to select the coffees that have been separated out as microlots (10%) or included in regional blends (20%), such as this one.
After being hand-picked and sorted, this coffee was pulped on each producer’s own farm. After fermenting, the coffee was washed and then dried on raised beds under the sun or on parabolic beds. These parabolic beds – which are constructed a bit like ‘hoop house’ greenhouses, with airflow ensured through openings in both ends – both protect the parchment from rain and mist as it is dried and prevent condensation from dripping back on the drying beans.
After the parchment is fully dried to the optimal humidity, it is delivered to Asprotimaná’s dry mill for assessment and storage.