He's back ! Our 5th consecutive year of supporting this program through our import partner DR Wakefield.
Senõr Ricardo Chilo Vargas is part of the Nasa ethnic group, and speaks the Nasayuwe language. He lives in the village of Carrizal, indigenous reservation of San Lorenzo Caldono, a municipality of Caldono. He is helped by his wife and seven children who work on the estate and in the home.
This coffee has a special significance in that it’s part of ‘Project 121’ instigated by our import partner DR Wakefield to match small indigenous producers to small speciality roasters. We have been lucky enough to be partnered with Ricardo Chilo for the past five seasons with an aim to grow together by committing to the entire harvest. Ricardo is part of the CENOIC cooperative who work with smallholder producers in indigenous reserves across the Cauca department. The scheme aims to ensure that at least 65-70% of our payment for the coffee goes directly to the farmer with an additional 20c/lb going to a community fund.
The project has run successfully in Honduras and Peru and now the Cauca region of Colombia through CENOIC. Colombia has been going through a phase of transition, especially in the south where the country has been facing a civil war for more than 50 years. Cencoic has been at the forefront of moving forward by focussing on producing great quality coffee.
The Cauca department has been troubled by guerrillas and cocaine production in recent times. Therefore, coffee production and export has been nowhere near its potential and as a consequence, Cauca’s rich coffee terroir has not received the prestige and that its coffees merit. Thankfully, this has now begun to change. As result of the peace process and the work of the Colombian people, the department is safer. Coffee has played an important role in giving people a viable alternative to growing coca.
In the Valle del Cauca region and Cauca region they grow a lot of sugar and the coffees exhibit a similar sort of sweetness! They make a particular type of sugar called 'panela' which is similar to treacle and the flavours of which are commonly found in these coffees.
Men and women pick the ripe cherries, which are then de-pulped and fermented for 17 hours then washed in travel channels. They are dried in solar parabolic machines until 11.5% moisture is reached, packed in clean fibre sacks to be delivered to the local collection site. They are then transported to the central warehouse of CENCOIC where they analyse the quality and dry-mill the coffee in preparation for export.
The coffee pulp is processed into compost for organic fertiliser which is put on maize and beans and the coffee mucilage reused as bio-fertiliser. The farm is certified 'Fair-Trade and Cafe Practices'.