We're very lucky to have this special selection of WIlliam's coffee from his farm Jericó, part of the El Carmen de Acevedo association in Huila where we visited in December 2022. This is another of our Red Association project coffees from our import partner Raw Material and the El Carmen group were the first members of this project.
Most of the coffees from the association members are combined to create the El Carmen coffees processed as washed and naturals and some then sent for decaffeination. Raw Material's on the ground team selected and separated a number of lots due to their cup quality, a testament to the hard work and care that the El Carmen producers are taking. During the trip we took part on the judging panel in the first 'Best of El Carmen' competition. Much of the talk before the judging was about a young producer William Cruz and the washed version of his came 4th. When we were given the chance to purchase his natural Pink Bourbon we jumped straight in and committed to the entire lot.
William inherited the farm from his father, and it is managed with the help of the whole family. Fluctuating prices and other hurdles including broca and roya have taken their toll, but the family goal continues to be a producer of the best coffee possible. Finca Jericó grows 6 hectares of coffee. Alongside the association standards of Castillo and Variedad Colombia, William grows Pink Bourbon, Pacamara, and has recently added Gesha and Caturra to the farm.
The farm sits in the small township of Los Angeles, and benefits from loamy soil and a temperate climate. Finca Jericó’s pink bourbon is well established, and has been growing for 6 years. It was a variety known for its easy adaptability, high productivity and great cup results. When he got word of this, William decided to get involved immediately, and now has 4,500 established pink bourbon trees at the farm.
This is out 6th year of supporting Raw Material and their Red Association projects. In that time they have built new infrastructure, paid individual farmers a minimum price of 1M COP/ carga of dry parchment coffee they produce through a community lot. This price results in over double the household income of a typical coffee producing family, compared with the average income in the regular market over the past 5 years. With the new infrastructure built, payments have been received directly by producers. The goal is to achieve stable and sustainable prices for community coffee lots through improved quality control, shared knowledge, and a connection to the specialty coffee market.
Physically, RM built drying bed facilities and QC infrastructure at the community central hub in the town of El Carmen. Through a new payment system, they provide stable prices that result in 2.5x the average household income, compared to previous seasons. El Carmen provides stable and sustainable prices for producers through a connection to the specialty market, improved quality control, and shared knowledge across the value chain.
(All images courtesy of @Andrea Jimenez)