El Faldón

  • Country
    Colombia
  • State
    Antioquia
  • Municipality
    Caicedo
  • Sub Municipality
    El Noque
  • Altitude
    2,100m above sea level
  • Variety
    Caturra, Bourbon
  • Processing
    Washed
  • Owner
    Rubén Darío Gómez
  • Farm Name
    El Faldón
  • Farm Size
    2 hectares

Honeycomb sweetness, with tart pineapple acidity. Plum, tangelo and green apple, balanced with black tea and dark chocolate.

This micro-lot was produced by Rubén Darío Gómez and Luz Eleny (pictured above), on their 2-hectare farm, El Faldón, located near the small community of El Noque, in the municipality of Caicedo, in Colombia’s Antioquia state.

Rubén Darío embodies the hard-working, intrepid character of an Antioquian coffee producer. Born and raised in the remote hills of Caicedo, Rubén Darío wasn’t able to complete his schooling and did not inherit land or assets from his family. At a young age, he began working as a coffee picker, travelling across Antioquia to pick coffee as it came into season in different areas. He worked for over a decade as a migratory farm worker and recollects many cold nights sleeping in a burlap bag in old sheds. Over the years, he persevered with his dream to own a coffee farm one day, saving as much as possible to buy his own piece of land.

Eventually, Rubén Darío saved enough money to purchase three hectares of land in the higher areas of Caicedo, some 2,100 meters above sea level. Land was more affordable in this area, as the high elevations and cool temperatures were deemed unsuitable for coffee production. Many of his friends and family warned him against establishing a farm here but, as Rubén Darío recalls with a laugh; “I really had no choice”, as it was the only land he could afford.

After some early years with low yields, Rubén Darío’s persistence and hard work paid off, as the El Faldón’s production rose year on year. The cool climate and high elevation of El Noque contribute to the outstanding cup profile of Rubén Darío’s coffee, which he first discovered through entering local specialty coffee competitions. Since then, he has partnered with our Colombian supply partner, Pergamino, who connect him to specialty coffee buyers like MCM and help him access high premiums for his coffee lots.

 

ABOUT CAICEDO

Caicedo is one of the highest coffee-producing regions of Antioquia, and therefore in Colombia. Coffee is grown on the side of deep canyons, dropping down to the mighty Cauca River, some 500m above sea level. The steep canyon walls trap warm currents, which circulate to higher ground and make it possible for coffee to be grown at such staggeringly high elevations. The unique geological attributes of the region contribute to the outstanding cup profile of coffees farmed and processed in the area. Typically, farms in the area are very small – on average just 2 hectares in size- and are farmed traditionally, with most of the labour being provided by the family.

Smallholder farmers in the highest elevations of Caicedo, like El Noque, were pioneers in planting and producing coffee at these high elevations. They were initially told by Colombia’s national coffee grower’s federation (Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia or FNC) that it would be impossible to grow coffee in such a cool climate. However, many farmers bought land here out of necessity as it was much more affordable than at lower elevations, which were considered more prosperous for coffee production.

Now, the area has become recognised for the exceptional cup quality and characteristics. The cool climate is ideal for the slow ripening of coffee cherries, leading to denser beans and a sweeter, more complex cup profile. Coffees from El Noque now attract high premiums from specialty buyers, who are able to access the region through the work of exporters like our supply partners, Pergamino.

 

ABOUT ANTIOQUIA

Antioquia is located in central North-Western Colombia. Coffee was introduced to the region in the latter part of the 19thcentury. Since then, this mountainous, fertile department has 128,000 hectares of coffee that are produced by a mix of large estates and tiny farms.

Antioquia only recently became more accessible to specialty coffee buyers – largely thanks to a transformation of the department led by Sergio Fajardo, who was the governor of the department in 2012-2016. Sergio transformed Antioquia’s capital city, Medellín, from a violent and dangerous place to a world-class tourist destination with a strong economy. Coffee has played a significant role in this transformation, and as access to many producers has improved, the region has become one of Colombia’s most important and celebrated coffee-producing areas.

HOW THIS COFFEE WAS SOURCED

This coffee is sourced by our export partners, Pergamino, who work with over 20 small, independent farmers in and around the village of El Hato. Pergamino has done a lot to help promote commercialisation of specialty coffee throughout Antioquia and have actively been working to source and support coffee producers in regions where there is a high potential for quality, but that historically have not had access to specialty buyers.

During harvest, the farmers deliver small lots (around 100-150kg) of dried parchment to Pergamino’s warehouse every 2-3 weeks. Upon delivery, a sample of the dried parchment is milled and assessed for physical attributes, including uniformity of size, presence of defects, moisture content and seed to hull ratio. If the coffee passes the physical assessment it is accepted and the farmer receives their first payment for the coffee, calculated by the weight delivered and a base rate related to the physical quality of the parchment.

The coffee is then cupped and assessed for sensory attributes. After being accepted by the team in neighbouring Caicedo, the coffees are transported to Pergamino’s QC lab in Medellin, where they are further assessed by an expert team of cuppers. Each lot is carefully evaluated and, based on the cup score and profile, the coffee is sorted into different grades of quality and combined into exportable sized lots. Feedback on each lot is relayed back to the producer and after it has sold a second payment is

Each season the team at Pergamino cups through hundreds of small lots from independent farmers, looking for coffees that exhibit excellent cup characteristics and showcase the region where they were produced. Rubén Darío’s coffee was selected to be processed separately as a micro-lot for its distinct character and high cup quality.

 

HOW THIS COFFEE WAS PROCESSED

This lot was selectively hand-harvested, with most labour being provided by the Rubén Darío Gómez and his families. The coffee was processed using the washed method at each farm’s ‘micro-beneficio’ (mill).

The coffee was pulped using a small manual or electric pulper, and then placed into a fermentation tank, where it was fermented for around 48 hours (depending on the weather) and then washed using cold, clean water from surrounding streams.

It was then carefully dried (over 10–18 days) on parabolic beds, which are constructed a bit like a ‘hoop house’ greenhouse, and act to protect the coffee from the rain and prevent condensation dripping back onto the drying beans. The greenhouse is constructed out of plastic sheets and have adjustable walls to help with airflow, and temperature control to ensure the coffee can dry slowly and evenly.

 

Once dry, the coffee was delivered to Pergamino’s warehouse, where it was cupped and graded, and then rested in parchment until it was ready for export.