This coffee was produced by 52 smallholder coffee producers hailing from the neighbouring sub-municipalities of Pedregal and San Antonio. Every single micro lot delivered was cupped and reserved due to it scoring 85 points or above by the community cupping lab, funded by Mercantas exporting partners, Pergamino, who are based in the Department of Antioquia. These stringent standards result in very limited quantities of this exceptional blend of primarily Caturra being made available for export.
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The municipality of Inzá is located in the corner of the Department of Cauca, bordering with Tolima and Huila and looking out to the west over the Pacific Ocean. Situated on the “Macizo Colombiano” (the Colombian Plateau), which surrounds the high peaks of Tolima and Huila, the region is an important source of water and wildlife, in addition to being prime coffee growing land.
Cauca’s violent past, with a heavy presence of FARC guerrillas, had historically prevented the FNC (Colombia’s excellent national coffee board) and specialty-focused exporters from establishing a presence in the region. As violence has diminished, it has enabled the growers in the region to seek increased access to markets for quality.
Like all producers in Colombia, Pergamino spent many years helplessly riding the roller coaster of international coffee prices. They had to invest, year after year, in their crops without knowing what price they would secure. As the saying goes in Colombia, there were years of lean cows and years of fat cows–the former being more common than the latter. They often sold their coffee to large exporters, never understanding its unique sensory coffees, nor in whose hands it ended up for what price. When they began selling their coffee directly to importers and roasters, everything changed. When they extended the model to small holder farmers in Antioquia, they also changed everything for them.