Cencoic, which stands for Central Cooperativa Indígena del Cauca, is a group that we have been working with since 2008. They are a cooperative comprised of indigenous reserves in the Cauca region and they also export their own coffee. With their help we have sourced the 121 project coffees which we provide to you. Luis Fernando lives on his 5.5 hectare farm El Lanito. He is part of the Nasa ethnic group, who work to preserve their own language (Nasa Yuwe/Paez) as well as culture as part of a more recent movement in preserving the cultural heritage across Colombia.
The Cauca region used to be a very different place to what it is now – years of armed conflict have given way thanks to all the hard work of the Colombian people & the Government resulting in an area that is now much more stable and the process towards peace is allowing Cencoic to flourish. Cencoic has seen steady growth over the last five years as more and more families from farming communities in their native geographical reserves are producing the right quality for export. Cencoic are also working with new reserves in the region which they previously found were inaccessible and unstable due to the geo-political situation and inherent dangers associated with said areas. The typical farmer in the cooperative has around 1 hectare of coffee growing land at an average altitude of around 1800 masl, so with 5.5 hectares, Luis Fernando is doing well. He grows mainly Castillo on the farm, forming about 80% of the final crop, with 20% Colombia. Castillo is an improved selection of Colombia, which itself is a mixed Catimor cultivar.
Coffee is picked by the smallholders in the municipality in the same way as across much of the country. Families and neighbours share labour to collect the cherries which are commonly washed and dried on the farm, often at high altitudes on steep slopes, or brought to a nearby beneficiary for processing. It is then brought to the dry mill or cooperative headquarters for cupping, scoring and sorting for export. On Luis Fernando’s farm, the coffee is picked with help from his brothers, sisters and neighbours, wet pulped and fermented in tanks for 15 hours. It is then dried in a solar parabolic drier, undergoes another level of hand-sorting for defects before being taken to the central CENCOIC dry mill facility in Popoyan, where it is graded, dry milled, quality cleaned again and prepared for export.