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Supporting an Emerging Specialty Coffee Origin

Posted by Wynne McAuley on February 11, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Last fall we announced that we had expanded our sourcing efforts in Antioquia, Colombia with the goal of bringing the Relationship Coffee Model to a region of Colombia that has long been associated with coffee in cans (think Juan Valdez) but not necessarily with tasty pour-overs.  Creating market access for small holder farmers and delivering new high quality varietals to our roaster customers have been the pillars of this work.

Amazingly, we are already starting to see the results of our hard work over the last six months - as demonstrated at last week's regional specialty coffee competition. The Concurso Taza de Café de Antioquia, hosted by Colombia's department of Antioquia, pitted the best coffees from the region in a battle of quality. The prize-winning coffee - with a score of 89.9 - was essentially discovered by our Colombian team during a recent tour of local producers.  The mix of Caturra and Castillo varietals brews as a bright, lively cup with notes of caramel, red fruit, and blueberries.

"In Antioquia, we are going to have the best coffee in the world." "In Antioquia, we are going to have the best coffee in the world."

Colombia has always been a coffee powerhouse, but despite Antioquia’s lush potential as a player in the speciality scene, it has remained determinedly under the radar, until now. Under the direction of its current Governor, Sergio Fajardo, Antioquia’s coffee reputation is getting a makeover. Fajardo is probably best known for his previous stint as the mayor of Medellín, Antioquia’s notorious capital city.  Under his leadership, Medellín underwent a transformation, and is now a vibrant, artsy destination city complete with a burgeoning specialty coffee scene.

We had the pleasure of having the Governor attend Let’s Talk Coffee® 2012, our annual conference which was hosted this year in Antioquia. He spoke to us of his plans for the region and, to everyone present, his determination was clear: he wants make Antioquia a coffee superstar. His official program, aptly dubbed Antioquia: Origen de Cafés Especiales (Antioquia: Origin of Specialty Coffees) aims to bring Antioquia into the international specialty coffee spotlight, helping producing families in the region to grow their incomes and access national and international markets.

Since last fall, Sustainable Harvest® has been partnering with the Antioquia government to realize these dreams. Our team in Colombia has been working tirelessly to connect with local farms and co-ops to discover the most exotic, brilliant, specialty coffees the region has to offer, conduct trainings in farm productivity and best practices, and connect specialty producers to market. One of the region’s coffee organizations that stood out to them grows the sweet, floral cup that went on to win both first and second place in the Concurso de Taza de Café.

Sustainable Harvest® is proud to be a part of this exciting time for Antioquia, and especially proud to be able to be the first importer to bring these new, incredible coffees to market; helping introduce new coffee cooperatives to the international market and creating a new line of relationship coffees in Colombia.

For more information about this coffee or our selections from Colombia email davidpiza@sustainableharvest.com.

Topics: Coffee, Events