Colombia Jose Rincon
Colombia Jose Rincon
Farm: La Argentina
Certifications: Fair Trade / Organic / Rainforest Alliance
Altitude: 1850 masl.
Tasting Notes: Green Apple | White Grape | Cascara Honey
This coffee was purchased through Shared Source LLC, a quality focused specialty importer who seeks to prioritize the smallest of producers and especially those working in organic cultivation. Shared Source paid Jose 1.6 million Colombian pesos per carga (125kg of parchment cof- fee or ~90kg of exportable green), which translates into roughly $2.50USD/lb. This is 1.25 - 1.5 times the average market rate. We purchased this coffee ex-warehouse from Shared Source at $3.50USD/lb.
What We Hope You Remember
We know it can be hard to read all of the information about every coffee — we don’t think you need to. However, we provide it all here for those who are interested. For those who don’t have the time, here’s what we hope you learn about this coffee.
Jose Rincon has been part of a producer’s association known as ASOPEP - The Association of Small Ecological Producers - based in Planadas, Tolima, Colombia for six years. ASOPEP is made of 168 families, 30 of which have women as heads of family, operating the farming production.
As part of ASOPEP, Jose and the other producers are part of a very small collection of Certified Organic and Fair Trade producers in Colombia.
Jose began working on his parents coffee farm at age 13, and then moved on to work as a picker on coffee farms, slowly saving his money to buy his own farm.
Planadas town is itself only about 50 years old and is relatively geographically isolated. With a lack of meaningful employment and education opportunities in a part of Tolima heavily dom- inated by FARC in years past, many young people were drawn into joining the ranks.
ASOPEP’s work is valuable in that it not only strives to produce organic coffee but to train and educate producers to consistently produce high-quality coffee. This includes a youth collective that trains young people in cupping, quality control, and barista skills. Through this collective, these young producers also travel across Colombia attending trade shows and visiting farms.
Jose was paid 1.6 million pesos the carga (125kg of parchment coffee, approximately 90kg of exportable green) for this coffee. This translates into roughly $2.50USD/lb paid directly to Jose, approximately 1.5 times market rate.
Jose Rincon and Planadas, Tolima
Jose Rincon is a certified Fair Trade and Organic producer located near the town of Planadas, Tolima. Tolima is an area that has struggled mightily in the last several decades, not only as a central location for the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionaros de Colombia (FARC) but also as a hotbed of activity during the peak cocaine years.
With low prices for agricultural commodities, this very isolated and mountainous region was flooded with narco-traficantes due to the presence of opium. Whereas a producer now can gain a commodity value of 700,000 pesos per 125kg of parchment coffee, they could gain double that for a single kilo of opium at peak times. Small mountain towns were flooded with partying drug dealers, and all their baggage. Violence skyrocketed and many people’s lives were caught in the crossfire.
Add to this a following period when the area was completely controlled by armed guerrillas and plagued with ongoing conflict with the military that saw family’s ripped apart, it’s fair to say that seeing Tolima regain its independence and stability is nothing short of a beautiful thing. Coffee has played a huge part in that.
Jose Rincon, La Argentina Planadas, Tolima
Tolima now represents as the third largest coffee producing department in Colombia and many of our favourite coffees have come from this region in recent years. With incredible soaring altitudes and stunning views, the coffee that comes from here is delicate, complex, and surprising.
Jose’s coffee is no different — a grower of only Colombia varietal, his farm is situated at 1850 masl, but what makes it even more special is that he produces this level of quality using relying on home-made organic fertilizers and biological controls of fungicides and pesticides that actually surpass local standards for organic certification bodies. Far beyond a marketing approach, Jose and other members of ASOPEP see themselves and their future generations in the soil and water of their communities and undertake these processes as a means of preservation and growth.
The Association of Small Ecological Producers of Planadas
Producers associations are instrumental in coffee producing countries, as they connect growers to buyers and also can contribute financially and pedagogically to the producers. This is what ASOPEP does, investing in the future of Planadas by developing education and training pro- grams for their producers that include information on growing, harvesting, and processing, as well as classes on coffee cupping and barista skills.
It can be sometimes hard to imagine, but most Colombian coffee producers never have the chance to try their own coffee. By training producers in tasting, and specifically youth, ASOPEP is ensuring that these growers come to learn the value and impact of their growing, harvesting, and processing practices which is seen in the cup throughout harvest. Many of the young producers here are excellent cuppers and are excited to see how their coffees perform on the tables.
The reputation of ASOPEP is that they’ve engaged young producers so effectively that — while a disturbing trends sees young people moving away from their family-owned farms in coffee producing countries around the world — the youth in this organization are engaged and excited about their future prospects. A full 30% of the members of ASOPEP are between 20-30 years old, showing just how strong this youth engagement is.
Farm: La Argentina
Region: Planadas, Tolima
Tasting notes: Green Apple | White Grape | Cascara Honey
Like most small producers in Colombia, Jose harvests and processes his coffee all the way down to parchment. The same day of picking, his coffee is pushed through a de-pulper and left to dry ferment for 48 hours before being moved to a solar dryer for to dry for three weeks.
This extended drying time ensures longevity to the roaster, and is commonly seen in Colombia. Many producers are learning that instead of rushing their drying times to sell the coffee quickly, they can increase the complexity of their coffee as well by drawing them out. By providing a coffee that doesn’t age as quickly and that has more complexity, they’re also guaranteeing their products for future harvests with buyers.