Macizo Colombiano

  • Country
    Colombia
  • Region
    Cauca, Tolima
  • Municipality
    Rio Chiquito, Paez, Inzá, China Alta and Laureles
  • Elevation
    1,800-2,000m above sea level
  • Variety
    Colombia, Caturra, Castillo
  • Processing
    Washed
  • Average Farm Size
    1.5 hectares
  • Contributing Producers
    Duvan Castillo, Yeni Ultengo, Angel Ultengo, Neyid Pillimue Choto, Hernan Munoz, Eduardo Quintero, Adriana Quintero, Benigno Calambas, Ivan Narvaez, Jina Andrada, Parmenidez Valencia

Great intensity and sweetness, with red apple, chinotto and sultana sweetness. Juicy body, balanced by black tea and toasted almond.

This coffee is named after the Great Colombian Massif, or Macizo Colombiano, a vast mountainous area that covers part of the states of Cauca, Tolima and Huila in the west of Colombia. This area is part of the Andean mountain range and is covered in snowcapped mountains, with elevations as high as 3,500m above sea level. The region is Colombia’s richest water source and many of the country’s largest rivers are born here, including the Cauca and Magdalena Rivers. Abundant, clean water and rich volcanic soil makes this area ideal for extensive agriculture and for exceptional coffee production.

This lot of Macizo Colombiano was blended from coffees produced by 18 smallholder farmers from the area around the municipalities of Rio Chiquito, Paez and Inza in the state of Cauca State, along with China Alta and Laureles in the state of Tolima. The coffees were selected by cup quality and profile to make up this special lot, which represents exceptional value.

The farms that contributed to this lot are very small – on average just 1.5 hectares in size – and are located between 1800-2000m above sea level in the high hills and valleys of the Macizo Colombiano. Coffee producers in these areas farm traditionally, and grow a mix of Colombia, Castillo and Caturra varieties. Fertilisation occurs around three times a year, usually after manual weeding, and pesticides are rarely used.

ABOUT INZA, CAUCA

The municipality of Inzá is located in the corner of the state of Cauca, bordering with Tolima and Huila and looking out to the west over the Pacific Ocean. This region has excellent conditions for growing high-quality coffee, with high elevations and rich volcanic soil. The plateau also has a very stable climate year-round, thanks to its proximity to the equator and the surrounding mountains, which protect the coffee against the humidity of the Pacific and the trade winds from the south. In addition to being prime coffee growing land, this region is an important source of water and wildlife.

Coffee from both Cauca and Tolima has historically been very difficult to access due to the region’s isolation and instability. For many years this part of Colombia was under the control of Colombia’s notorious rebel group, the FARC, and as a result it was unsafe and violent. Since 2012, safe access to these regions has been possible as a result of peace talks between the national government and the rebels. Since this time some stunning coffees from small producers have become accessible.

ABOUT TOLIMA

The word ‘Tolima’ comes from the local indigenous language and means a “river of snow or cloud”. The region sits on the Cordillera Central, in the middle of the three mountain ranges that provide a range of microclimates well-suited to high-quality coffee production. Coffee is the leading agricultural activity in the region, followed by beans and cattle.

The most well-known regions in Tolima for specialty coffee are Planadas and Chaparral in the south. This coffee comes from the areas surrounding Ibagué, which is further north in the state. The city is also known as the “Ciudad del Abanico” or the “city of the folding fan” because when you look at it from the sky the rivers running from the mountains split up the crops of rice and cotton, and it looks like a beautiful handmade folding fan.

 

Our export partners for this coffee, Pergamino, have worked hard commercialise specialty-grade coffee throughout Cauca and Tolima, and have uncovered some stunning coffees and very dedicated producers in the process. They work closely with the producers to give them feedback on their coffees (provided by Pergamino’s expert team of cuppers) and provide top up payments when the coffee is sold at a higher premium.

Head here to learn more about the work of Pergamino.

HOW THIS COFFEE WAS PROCESSED

The coffees in this lot were selectively hand-harvested, with most labour being provided by the farmers and their families. They were 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 the farms location) and then washed using clean water from nearby rivers and 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 are 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.

Read more about our Colombian export partner, Pergamino, here.