Cooperativa del Sur del Cauca

Cauca, Colombia

Our coffee comes from Cooperativa del Sur del Cauca (CoSurCa), a very small growers group in Popayan. This is the first group of farmers to export their coffee independently in Colombia. Rene, the head of the coop, might be one of the most compassionate, sensitive people I have met. Whenever I am lucky enough to meet up with him, our reunions are filled with hugs, tears, and heart-felt stories about how much our partnership has meant to him and the coffee farmers. The coffee is classic Colombian – a smooth, round cup known for its consistency and flavor.

COSURCA Cooperative

We stopped roasting Colombian in 1999, when the violence there touched me personally and deeply. Then, in 2002, I met a group of young indigenous Arhuaco farmers from the Sierra Nevada mountains trying desperately to break away from conflict, protect their ancient culture and rebuild their lives. They helped me heal from my own wounds as well. We worked with these growers, and now the entire coop of CoSurCa in Popayan, to protect sacred lands, support elders, preserve indigenous culture and access markets for their organic, fair trade coffees.

Women Coffee Farmers in Colombia


Our Colombian Coffees

Colombia has traditionally set the standard for Latin American coffees, especially with the power of the state and Juan Valdez behind them. It is consistently sweet, medium-bodied, and notably smooth with medium acidity. The best Colombians are really good, but the average Colombian is, well, pretty average, and has been used forever as grocery store and diner coffee. Try and seek out a named coffee from Colombia, from regions such as Narino, Magdelena, Medellin, Bucaramanga, Popayan, and Huila. If it doesn't have a regional identification, it is probably pretty mundane.

    Useful Expressions

    'Me gusta mucho su café - I like your coffee very much.

    'Es este un tipo de planta medicinal?' - Is this a type of medicinal plant?

    People-Centered Development Projects

    Strengthening Agricultural & Political Alliance (2022 - ongoing)

    • Increase farmer knowledge in environmentally-friendly farming practices to adapt to climate change.
    • Inclusive and cooperative political and economic organization in the face of social conflict, illicit crops and armed actors.
    • Funding commitment to date: $5,997 

    Strengthening Community Nutrition & COVID-19 Prevention (2020) 

    • 15 organizations (associate farms, schools, etc.) received a total of 86 community garden plots that benefitted 410 people.
    • Technical agricultural training for women and young farmers on 1,500 farms.
    • COVID-19 safety training, PPE and educational materials.
    • Funding: $7,400

      Casa de Memoria  (2018 - 2019)

      • Supporting creation of community-based museums to house and preserve indigenous cultural and traditional agricultural knowledge.
      • Training for local youth in cultural preservation.
      • Funding: $3,600

      Landmine Victim Assistance  (2012 - 2019)

      • Ongoing partnership with the POLUS Center Coffeelands Trust, providing job training and rehabilitation clinics for landmine victims.
      • Funding: $20,000
      Indigenous Empowerment (2009)
      • Support, develop, and maintain sacred indigenous knowledge and foster self-determination.

      People Centered Development Planning Meeting

      Land Re-Purchase Program (2009)

      • Bought back communal land that had been shrunk by government programs.

      Heart of the World (2009)

      • Initiative to bring elders of the four tribes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains together to walk the sacred spots around their mountains.
      • Encouraged the elders to teach knowledge to the next generation.

       Fondo Paez Cooperative (1992)

      • Resuscitated indigenous agricultural knowledge and culture which was suppressed through colonization, conflict, and globalization.

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