ABOUT THIS COFFEE
This coffee was produced by Neiver Samboni, who farms 1.3 hectares of Colombia & Caturra in the Timaná municipality of Huila, one of the prime coffee producing regions in Colombia.
Neiver is a young coffee farmer, but he comes from a coffee growing background. He inherited the land from his father, who taught him much of what he knows, and has worked it alone for the last three years. He has a small family, and his long term goal is to send his children to college in Neiva, the nearest city, using the profits that he receives for producing higher quality coffee. Between his own harvests, he supplements his income by working on larger farms in the region and various jobs in town.
Neiver belongs to the Association of Agricultural Producers of Timaná (Asprotimaná). The association was created by a small group of coffee growers in 2002 as a way to increase their bargaining power and achieve a better price for their coffee. Their current members number 110 coffee producers, who, on average, produce around 20,000 bags of green coffee annually.
Fair Trade Certification initially permitted the group to build a small fund, which they used to build strong foundations and an infrastructure for the association – including a warehouse, a local cupping lab and pre-financing capabilities. By separating their best coffees and betting on cup quality rather than just relying on certification premiums, they have been able to grow this fund even further and use it for multiple programs, all to the benefit of the growers that are members of the association. The benefits range from crop insurance and technical assistance to discounts on fertilizer and farm equipment. Most importantly, members of Asprotimaná are assured crop financing, which helps farmers invest in the necessary inputs to achieve quality in the cup.
Every weekend during Huila’s harvest, Asprotimaná members bring their parchment coffee to the town of Timaná, where the association is based. There, each coffee is analysed and cupped by the association´s team of professional cuppers, who have been trained to the most exacting standards. If the coffee comes from a grower who has previously produced coffee of very high quality or if the coffee cups above 84 points, the sample is sent to Mercanta’s partner, Santa Barbara Estate Coffee, whose dry mill is located in Medellin. There, there coffee is cupped again by Santa Barbara’s team. Only samples of the very best coffees from each harvest are then sent through to Mercanta for our own assessment. During the 2014/15 harvest Santa Barbara cupped more than 1,500 samples to select the coffees that have been separated out as microlots (10%) or included in regional blends (20%). Neiver’s coffee this year was one of the top 10% that Santa Barbara has reserved as a microlot.
After being hand-picked and sorted, this coffee was pulped on Niever’s own farm. After fermenting, the coffee was washed and then dried on parabolic beds under the sun. These parabolic beds – which are constructed a bit like ‘hoop house’ greenhouses, with airflow ensured through openings in both ends – both protect the parchment from rain and mist as it is dried and prevent condensation from dripping back on the drying beans.