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Colombia El Carmen

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Regular price £9.00

Name: El Carmen

Producer:  Raw Material & Invercafe

Origin: Huila

Varietal: Castillo, Caturra

Altitude: 1400-2100 metres above sea level

Process: Natural

Flavours: Guava, Sweet Cherry & Elderflower

Harvest: February-July 

Importer: Raw Material

Where is it from?

n May 2017, Raw Material met with Invercafe and two new coffee producer groups in Pitalito, Huila, to understand what is preventing farmers from accessing the speciality market. During these 

discussions farmers described their core challenges: a lack of key infrastructure; and lack of stable prices to provide certainty for investment in improved quality. Together, we also uncovered a wide gap between how the quality is discussed and measured at the farm level. 

To address these challenges, Raw Material launched Red Associations. With the new infrastructure in place, they pay individual farmers a minimum price of 1M COP/ carga of dry parchment co ee they produce through a community lot. This price results in over double the household income of a typical coffee-producing family, compared with the average income in the regular market over the past 5 years. Once the new infrastructure is built, payments are received directly by producers. The goal is to achieve stable and sustainable prices for community coffee lots through improved quality control, shared knowledge, and a connection to the speciality coffee market. 

Despite good production levels, income from coffee for these families has dropped to unsustainable levels in the past few years. Producers faced a crossroads; either find alternative means of income or find a more sustainable market. Two core constraints faced those that choose option two: a lack of key infrastructure to produce quality coffee, and access to stable prices in return. Together, they overcame both of these challenges. 

Physically, they built drying bed facilities and QC infrastructure at the community central hub in the town of El Carmen. Through a new payment system, they provide stable prices that result in 2.5x the average household income, compared to previous seasons. El Carmen provides stable and 

sustainable prices for producers through a connection to the speciality market, improved quality control, and shared knowledge across the value chain.

An interesting crossover of two areas of our focus in Colombia. This lot comes from a special selection of harvests from producers from El Carmen. The cherries were transported from Pitalito to Villamaría, where they were dried by the Villamaria drying station, which Raw Material built in 2018. The location was selected due to its perfect climate and altitude for the drying of naturally processed coffee. Alongside this, the large space available meant that producing high-quality naturals at scale was a possibility not available before.

The cherry is dried on raised drying beds in the station’s greenhouse for two weeks, before being finished in the mechanical dryer for up to 4 days. 





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