Colombia is one of the few coffee producing countries to have two annual harvest seasons, and our latest offering, the Colombia La Cristalina, comes from the main harvest which occurs October to January.
This coffee is grown in the Guatica region of Risaralda department, located in Colombia’s central Valle De Cauca. The Cristalina group represents 158 small farms in this micro region of Colombia’s coffee belt. Many of these farms are only a few hectares in size, meaning that they only produce small amounts of coffee. Each farm has its own wet mill, to process and drying its own fruit, but lacks the resources to dry mill, or export their own product. For this, the Cristalina group relies on Granja La Esperanza, a coffee growing and exporting group based out of Cali.
Most coffee farmers in Risaralda tend to focus more on quantity (of production) over quality, but the Cristalina group bucks this trend. Agronomic support and education is provided at the collective’s headquarters in Guatica, and many of these small farms are in the process of renovating by pruning back older plants and allowing new growth to flourish, even though it means a reduced harvest for several years.
Environmental and social responsibility are key to La Cristalina’s mission. The Cristalina organization is structured around democratic principles, with each member farm getting a say in group policy. Membership also allows the small farms access to credit and education, to improve both quality and sustainability. The co-op also assists in the purchase of environmentally friendly milling equipment and crop protection.
Member farms grow both Caturra and Colombia cultivars of Arabica, at elevations between 1500 and 1900 meters. The lot we have purchased is primarily a washed Caturra with small amounts of Colombia cultivar. The cup is definitely unique for the region with a rich full body, sweet and floral notes, and an intense citrus acidity that brews up great as drip or pourover. Currently being offered in our café and at select wholesale partners, and hitting the shelves of select grocery stores later this spring.