About This Coffee
Seeking better prices for their coffees, 10 entrepreneurs in Planadas, Tolima founded the Asociación De Productores De Café Especial La Orquídea (Asoprocafees) in 2014. The group’s numbers soon swelled to 30 and then 50+ members who remain committed to getting better prices by improving the quality and sustainability of their coffee.
The cooperative has focused on certifying and training their producers to achieve certifications. To do this, they have invested in constructing, improving and maintaining all the infrastructure that it takes to produce excellent coffee. This includes building warehouses, improving roads and continuing to educate their farmers on harvesting and processing methods.
In 2023, Asoprocafees attained IMPACT verification, Sucafina’s responsible sourcing verification program. IMPACT helps farmers access new markets while supporting them as they invest in the social and environment sustainability of their farms. With IMPACT, farmers focus on protecting forest land, safeguarding farm worker rights, reducing carbon emissions and implementing regenerative agriculture. With these goals in mind, IMPACT helps farmers increase their livelihoods by accessing new markets for their coffee.
Asoprocafees has been focused on selling their certified coffees to obtain a premium that can support farmer incomes and needs. Since the market for certified coffees has gone down in recent years, they have struggled to meet their overhead costs from obtaining certification. IMPACT helps Asoprocafees access new markets for verified coffees while maintaining a price premium for their hard work. Premiums from their IMPACT coffee sales will go to help farmers renovate their trees to maintain and boost productivity levels. By getting IMPACT-verified, Asoprocafees received 10 soil analyses from Sucafina and, inspired by the impact soil analysis can have, they plan to expand the number of farms analyzed. They intend to do soil analysis for all farms in their supplier networks so that farmers can better understand how to apply fertilizers.
Harvest & Post-Harvest
Producers process their cherry on their farms. They selectively handpick cherry and then pulp and ferment it. After coffee ferments, farmers wash parchment in clean water and lay it to sun dry.
Tolima lies deeply nestled in the Central Andes. While the climate is well suited for coffee production, Tolima has remained a less popular region due to the prevalence of armed conflict and drug trafficking. Many farming communities have been caught in the crosshairs of these conflicts.
More recently, the region has had an opportunity to open up and reduce incidents of violence and drug production or smuggling. Despite its complicated past, Tolima is Colombia’s third-largest coffee-producing department.
In such conditions, producer organizations play an important role in transforming their communities. Associations or cooperatives can create more jobs and make coffee appear more appealing to young people. Many groups in the region organize courses and training to develop barista skills, quality control and even business management.
In a region where the job availability outside of coffee farming is very limited, providing new opportunities for work is essential to draw young people away from becoming involved in the endless cycle of violence and criminality. On top of all the community-wide benefits, being part of a cooperative helps producers gain much better access to support on an agronomical, commercial and economic level.
Over the years, the term Excelso has held a few different meanings. What has not changed, however, is that only the best Colombian coffees are permitted to be exported.
Excelso is supplied in steady volume throughout the year. In the cup, it displays a reliably distinctive combination of body and acidity.
European Preparation (EP)
EP stands for European Preparation. EP beans are Screen 15+ with a low defect tolerance.
Coffee in Colombia
Colombia has been producing and exporting coffee renowned for their full body, bright acidity and rich aftertaste, since the early 19th century.
Colombia boasts a wide range of climates and geographic conditions that, in turn, produce their own unique flavors in coffee. This also means that harvest times can vary quite a bit. In fact, between all its different regions, Colombia produces fresh crop nearly all year round.
The increasing focus on the specialty industry is changing the way traders and farmers do business. It is becoming more common for farmers to isolate the highest quality beans in their lots to market separately. These higher-quality lots are often sold under specific brands or stories.
Besides its wide variety of cup profiles, Colombia has quickly expanded its certification options over the past 10 years. The most common certifications available are Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ and Organic.