This coffee comes from the municipality of Argelia which is situated in the south west of the department of Cauca. Cauca is the 4th largest producer of specialty coffee in Colombia with around 90,000 small holder farmers all producing coffee on approximately 1ha of land. Often these farmers are part of small associations who have very limited access to market as well as limited resources to find channels to sell their coffees at the premiums they could achieve.
The Argelia municipality is located in an area that has been plagued by the civil unrest and illegal drug trade for many years. This is still a pertinent problem for the families living here and many of them are looking to make a living though legal channels where they can support their families and communities.
Siruma Coffee a small specialty female led exporter have launched a project in this past season that started in 2020 in Argelia for an initial 15 months period until early 2022. The funding has come from USAID to support 5 small Associations incorporating about 220 families who grow coffee for their livelihood. Siruma have been providing technical assistance of the ground with their agronomist helping provided educational sessions on pre and post harvest techniques for the families that wish to join. Baseline data was established from the producers who each annually produce approximately 17 bags of green exportable coffee. The producers are also being trained in sensory analysis of the coffees and how their own coffees taste and the impact of processing on quality. Siruma are also helping to provide commercial specialty channels for the coffees though the partnership with Falcon Coffees who are buying all the coffee sourced from this project.
The farmers from these associations all have small 1 ha farms and have mix of varieties including Typica, Tabi, Caturra, Castillo and Colombia. As well as producing coffee they also produce small amounts of food for consumption including bananas, avocado and oranges. Some of which they can sell to also generate extra income. In the harvest they will pick the ripe cherry with their family and will do this every week as the coffee ripens at varying stages even on such small plots. Once picked they then wash and float the cherry before then pulping the coffee and leaving it to ferment overnight for 12 - 18 hours.
After this the wet parchment is floated and immatures removed before being dried for 8 - 14 days in parabolic tents or on covered roof patios.
The coffee is then taken to the association where it is stored and the producers receive the initial payment for their coffees. The coffee is then assessed by the Siruma team and all coffees purchased that meet the physical quality specifications required.
Initially in the first phase of the project in total there have been 165 producers who have attended training and from this in total 92 of these have delivered coffees to Siruma. All of these 92 producers have received on average 9.5% more than the local market rate for their coffees.