Ramon Chinchilla grows coffee in an often under-represented and little-known corner of Colombia’s northeastern mountains along the border of Venezuela in the remote Cesár department. The Serrania del Perijá mountain range eventually feeds into the same Andean cord that passes through Bogotá and on southward; however, this far north there is considerable Caribbean influence in the climate, even at the highest elevations, creating an ecosystem unique to the rest of Colombia, including to nearby Sierra Nevada. The soil here is much drier and siltier, and less retentive of water overall, requiring growers to be more intentional about shade management and erosion prevention.
Ramon bought his 11.5 hectare plot 18 years ago with a vision of uniting his wife and sons around a natural existence, working closely together, and helping to carry on the organic farming methods historical to the area. 6 of the 11.5 hectares are planted with coffee and the remaining 5.5 are a mixture of avocado, banana, blackberry, and corn. The municipality of Manaure where Ramon’s community is located sits toward the very top of the Cesár department, and is in the foothills of the Serrania del Perijá range. Ramon works the farm with his sons over the long and steady harvest period, and processing is a quick and efficient affair: 14-20 fermentation after depulping, and 8-9 days drying until the parchment is finished.
Ramon’s exporter of choice, InConexus, is a specialty exporter and relationship management company who works directly with growers in 7 of Colombia’s departments. InConexus manages local purchasing hubs throughout the departments where they work. The hubs buy parchment or dried naturals directly from growers, intaking coffee through a rigorous quality classification and pricing system tied to cup score. Once assessed, deliveries are blended under micro-brands or sold as single-farm lots and marketed around the world. InConexus prides itself on prioritizing direct knowledge between producers, importers, and roasters, hosting multiple auction events or educational summits each year to expose producers to the wider market, and vice versa.