These coffee producers, with farms averaging three hectares, are all members of the Macizo association. They resolved to start the co-op with the aim of entering the specialty coffee market in order to improve their income and strengthen their community.
In 2003, a project began with the coffee producers of APCEJOR (which later merged with ACEDGA group to form the Macizo co-operative) which helped them maximize the potential of their coffee through education and training. Later, they installed a full cupping lab in the town of Planadas to cup and analyze each lot of coffee which encourages instant feedback and quality improvements.
New in 2013:
Stumptown remains the only buyer maintaining traceability of coffee in the area, which gives Stumptown the opportunity to have the first look at the top coffees through our Virmax partners. Everything else gets bulked and sold off as a group. Stumptown continues to encourage farmers to maintain better tasting varieties.
This year’s stunning El Jordan offering consists of coffee from 15 of the top producers from the Macizo association. Each producer invested heavily in their infrastructure to adapt to the changing climate. They developed more complex systems of covered and enclosed drying beds to focus on critical stages of drying, and invested in plant nutrition, while learning to combat cycles of leaf rust. They have a new warehouse in Planadas to receive and evaluate the coffee as it is harvested and prepared. Since coffee has recently become economically viable, an unusually high percentage of young farmers produce high quality coffee in the remote, rugged, war torn region of Planadas de Tolima.
In the Central Mountain range of Colombia’s Andes Mountains, nestled beneath the shadows of the magnificent Nevado del Huila within the Tolima province, lies the small town of Gaitania de Planadas, home to a small, but growing enclave of dedicated coffee farmers responsible for El Jordan.
Nevado del Huila, an active volcano, is a beautiful snow-capped mountain with a summit which lies 5,365 meters above sea level. Due to the volcanic activity, the area surrounding the Nevado del Huila is among the most fertile in Colombia and provides an excellent microclimate for growing coffee. Numerous rivers are born in the hills of the Nevado and wildlife species inhabit these slopes with staggering landscapes. In spite of having one of the most beautiful and best coffee growing conditions in the country, the geographic conditions ensure that the region remains quite inaccessible. Gaitania is located only 100 km from Neiva and 250 km from Ibague, yet it can take over six hours to get there over steep hills and rugged roads. A long history of influence from guerrilla groups that have controlled the region for over 40 years increased the inaccessibility of the region. Despite these challenges, the coffee producers of Gaitania continue cultivating their coffee with pride and care.
The coffee pickers get paid higher premiums ensuring only ripe cherries are harvested. The producers depulp their coffee into fermentation tanks using hand cranked depulping machines. They are naturally fermented for 18-20 hours in tanks, washed and then dried on parabolic drying beds. As a consequence of the education and the good prices they have received, producers have built new solar driers in their farms so that they can properly dry their coffee even when the weather is wet and humid, which is very common in Gaitania. This coffee is proof of a working relationship where the coffee continually improves.