About This Coffee
ASCAFE’s (Asociacion Colombiana de Pequeños Caficultores) works with people who were formerly combatants in Cauca’s long-running violent conflict. High quality coffee production offers former combatants a chance to start anew, building skills as producers and making a positive impact on themselves and their communities.
While they are driven by their plans to improve member livelihoods, ASCAFE recognizes that high quality coffee production an effective way to meet their social goals. Their dedication to quality improvement is evident in their consistently high scoring samples. As well as their ability to improve the density and consistency of their beans – even in light of Cauca’s notoriety for brittle beans.
ASCAFE is bolstering their social and quality-focused programs by expanding their technological data collection capacities. One such project is an app that will digitalize farm financials for producers.
Farms in southern Colombia are small, typically under 1 hectare. According to ASCAFE’s research, it is difficult-to-impossible for producers to support their family on the income from coffee production alone. Additionally, economic needs and the presence of armed-drug cartels operating in the region pressure farmers to transition to illicit crops that can put them on the wrong side of the law and also in physical danger from actors in the drug trade.
In response, ASCAFE has developed a crop-diversification model that increases household income and sustainability. Families plant avocado trees (shade, income & food), timber trees (a long term investment for retirement) and an orchard (to provide food for the family throughout the year). ASCAFE builds upon their social goals with their focus on the “ Family Agriculture Economy” that involves all family members in labor and decision making on the farm.
As part of their “certification” process for members, ASCAFE agronomists perform soil analysis on farms and create an individualized nutrition plan. Their partnership with Yara, a fertilizer company, helps farmers access inputs, optimize usage and also provides some members with trainings on plant nutrition.
Asociacion Colombiana de Pequeños Caficultores (ASCAFE) is a cooperative in Southern Colombia that represents more than 3,700 coffee-producing families Cauca, Nariño and Huila. They use an innovative model that combines quality improvement and social empowerment to drastically increase opportunities for farming families.
Their dedication to be producers and marketers of high quality coffee drives ASCAFE to form strong commercial relationships and expand their agricultural knowledge, collective skills and financial integration.
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.