Creamy dark chocolate and orange
Montebonito (beautiful mountain), is a small town located deep in the mountains of the state of Caldas, Colombia. Surrounded by green cliffs and clouds, it stands at 1,800 meters above sea level not far from the famous snowy volcano “Nevado del Ruiz.” Income in the area comes solely from agriculture with products like sugar cane, bananas, plantains, and avocados dominating the landscape, coffee being the most important. With a sad and unjust past, being attacked twice by FARC guerrillas, once on the day of the presedential election on May 24, 1983 and again on March 5, 2005, the town was almost destroyed, but is now the source of some of the best coffees in the region.
This coffee comes from the Cooperativa de Caficultores de Manizales, founded in 1960 and a partner and representative for approximately 4000 independent small holders across the municipalities that make up the department of Caldas: Manizales, Chinchina, Manzanares, Neira, Samana, Victoria, Palestina, Marquetalia, Villamaria, Marulanda and Pensilvania. It provides greater access to resources and the specialty coffee market, where they can command a higher price for their premium crops.
Nevado Montebonito is the product of 97 farms within the cooperative, all of which are situated in the Marulanda municipality. The cherries from this coop are processed at the famous Granja La Esperanza which has strict quality control standards.
Coffee in Colombia
Colombia is bisected by the Andes Mountains, which split into three parallel cordilleras (mountain ranges) as they run south to north. Coffee grows throughout these mountains from north to south, with the addition of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, an isolated mountain range in the north of the country where a number of indigenous tribes produce organic- and Fair Trade–certified coffees. The three mountain ranges produce diverse microclimates.
The majority of Colombian coffee territory has two harvests: principal and the mitaca ("fly crop"), which is typically smaller. In the north, principal harvest is in November with the mitaca in May–June. The South has the opposite of that; principal harvest in May–June and mitaca in November, scattered across the country in some of the most biologically diverse landscapes in the world.
Colombian coffees differ in flavor from region to region because of the unique microclimates and processing styles. Farmers will pick and process coffee during the week and drive it in to town on Saturday to sell. For many years, Colombia was the number-one world producer of washed coffees, and the second-largest producer to Brazil. In 2000, Colombia was surpassed by Vietnam, and then the rust infestation of 2008 set them back significantly. Today they are currently in the top five of coffee production with roughly 10 million bags per year. Colombians farmers and citizens alike drink a lot of coffee every day; nearly 20% of their annual production. Colombia has over 600,000 farms, most of them farmed by small landholders with less than 5 acres nestled in the hills at roughly 1,200 to 2,000 meters above sea level.