This Is Colombia
We love Colombia at Marvell Street, it's our favourite origin and to celebrate this we have showcased 4 amazing producers and one epic association who we feel represent why Colombia is such a wonderful coffee growing country.
The typical coffee farm in Colombia is between 1 and 4.5 hectares, many of which are family-operated, often handed down from one generation to the next. Since the crash of the commodity coffee market in the 1990s, the Colombian government has encouraged farmers to grow coffee for the specialty market as it offers better prices and stability. Small scale farms with a focus on quality means more attention to detail, more investment in equipment and technology and more traceability. As a boutique coffee roaster, this means we can purchase lots from individual farms each year with confidence that the coffee will be exceptional.
Colombia has two harvest periods, the main harvest and the mitica or 'fly' harvest. The timing of these harvests is crucial as it means we can source high quality fresh crop coffees during the months of January through to April, a period historically that was tricky to source fresh coffee.
The mighty Andes mountains bisect Colombia to form three distinct ranges, and it is in and around these ranges that the majority of coffee is grown. The mountainous landscape, coupled with unpredictable wind patterns create unique microclimates in each region, resulting in wonderful cup diversity. Colombia is the land of variety of flavour when it comes to coffee.
We have worked with Luis Edier through our import partner, Caravela, for three consecutive harvests, going back to 2017. Luis is a young, passionate coffee producer who is following a family tradition whilst looking to the future to provide a better life for his family and community. By committing to his coffee year after year by paying above market price we are able to invest in him and his farm and in turn he is able to improve his offering each harvest, it's a win win.
Did you know?
Over 500,000 families produce coffee in Colombia
According to government figures, over 500,000 family incomes are directly derived from growing coffee. With and average farm size of 4.5 hectares, these small family run farms are the backbone of the Colombian coffee industry and are supported by a powerful trade association the FNC, who's main focus is to support farming families and promote Colombian coffee to the world.
Colombia is the third largest coffee producer in the world
Coming in third behind Brazil and Vietnam, Colombia produces around 810,000 metric tonnes of coffee per year. In 2019 Colombia produced almost 15 million 60kg bags, that's a lot of cups of coffee!
Sustainability is a priority for farmers
Coffee research organisations like the WCR work directly with farmers to develop more disease-resistant varieties and to help implement them at farm level. As coffee trees can take years to develop before being able to be harvested it is a delicate balancing act for farmers as they have to maintain their profitability, despite these challenges they are committed to future-proofing their livelihoods as best they can, which is why we see a lot of progressive farming and technology developed in Colombia.
Coffee plays a role in America's 'War on Drugs'
The US government has invested in coffee growing in Colombia for decades as a way to discourage farmers from growing the infamous coca plant, which is grown to produce cocaine. Since the 2016 peace deal with rebel group FARC previously off limits areas have begun opening up to the rest of the country and many families are choosing to grow coffee instead of coca, only time will tell if this has a significant impact of coca production in the region.