Our coffee comes from 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.
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 thse 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.
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.