Colombia Coffee Regions -Huila – Cauca – Nariño

A trip to the Colombia coffee regions of the south in 2008

I took a nice, “travelogue-worthy” trip to Colombia in late May, a real action-packed runaround. We dropped in at the 3 main growing regions to the south of Bogota in just one week: Huila, Cauca and Narino departments (states).

It’s part of the new way we are working in Colombia with 4 levels of coffee quality. We’re designating them 1-Star, 2-Star, 3-Star and 4-Star.

1-Star is blended by an exporter from small farms, and ends up as a good arrival. It’s solid Specialty coffee that you might find at a good local roastery. 2-Star is blended from lots scoring above 84 on a subregional level within one of the growing regions, such as Huila Timana or Huila Pitalito. 3-Star are distinct small farmer lots scoring above 86, so small that I can’t offer them alone but have selected them to be part of our own micro-regional blend.

And 4-Star is the highest level, a distinct small family farm that has scored above 88, entering the realm of truly exemplary coffees. The top 2 levels are vacuum-packed in Bogota to preserve every detail of their cup quality upon arrival at Sweet Maria’s.

Our top 2 levels qualify for our Farm Gate pricing program, although the 2-Star is also part of our transparent price system, and well above Fair Trade payment levels to cooperatives. So that’s the gist of it, here are some pictures from the Colombia coffee regions we visited … some not at all related to coffee. i hope you understand… -Tom

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