Origin Information

30 producers members of Asociación de Productores Ecológicos de Planadas (ASOPEP)
Planadas, Tolima, Colombia
May - August | October - December
1600 – 2100 masl
Clay minerals
Cherries were placed in a tank and fermented for 120 hours and then dried on raised beds and mechanical dryers

Background Details

For many years, Tolima has remained hidden in plain sight between other well-known coffee growing regions because armed conflict and coca leaf production isolated producers and exposed them to high rates of violence. During this time the municipality of Planadas, located in the southernmost corner of Tolima, had remained an untapped source of specialty coffee where thousands of producers have been cultivating coffee on just a few acres of land intercropped with shade trees, bananas, corn, beans and sugarcane. As conflict has subsided in recent years, locally organized associations have taken the lead in creating market access for these producers. Established in 2013 with 165 producer-members Asociación de Productores Ecológicos de Planadas (ASOPEP) has focused on certifications and training producers in best organic practices. The cooperative has invested in basic infrastructure needs like road improvements, establishing local warehouses, creating micro-credit for producers and investing in social programs on a larger and more impactful scale, using the collective resources generated from the sale of coffee. Environmental training programs, healthcare initiatives, life insurance, and educational opportunities are just some of the ways the cooperative strives to improve the quality of life for coffee producers and their families. This Natural processed lot comes from an initiative called “Cream of the Crop” in which 30 produces carefully harvest and sort cherries, ferment the cherries for 120 hours in sealed bags, then pre-dry the coffee on patios for 5 days. Next the coffee is placed in mechanical driers for 36 hours, then rested for 4 days and then returned to the mechanical dryers for another 75 hours. Traceability and quality control throughout the post-harvest process is ensured because ASOPEP has a dry-mill facility and cupping lab where coffee is prepared for export. In addition to quality control, the cooperative’s cupping lab also serves as coffee and cacao school that has graduated 37 students including one alumni who participated as an international judge in the 2019 Colombian Cup of Excellence.