Tasting Notes: Chocolate, Green Apple, Pineapple Grower: Asociación de Productores Agropecuarios de Santa Rosa (ASPRASAR) Variety: Caturra, Castillo, and Colombia Region: Tolima, Colombia (Saldaña, Herrera, and Rio Blanco) Process: Handpicked, Fully Washed, and Sundried Altitude: 1,700 to 1,900 m asl Soil: Clay Minerals Grower Certifications: Fair Trade and Organic
For many years Tolima has remained hidden in plain sight between other well-known coffee growing regions because armed conflict and coca leaf production isolated small coffee producers and exposed them to high rates of violence. As conflict has subsided in recent years, locally organized associations have taken the lead in creating market access for their coffee. This traceable blend with a vibrant regional profile comes from an association called Asociación de Productores Agropecuarios de Santa Rosa (ASPRASAR), which has 67 producers with small farms in the municipalities of Herrera and Rio Blanco. Each producer has their own micro-mill where they carefully harvest cherries, depulp, ferment, wash, and gently dry the parchment on raised beds. Their impeccable farm management and post-harvest practices culminate into a clean and consistent blend. But there are also just enough differences from farm to farm to create a rich complexity of flavors. An export company called Mastercol provides crucial logistical support for things like warehousing and milling coffee for export to the international market, which provides better income for everyone to re-invest in their farms and strengthen their families’ livelihoods.