Colombia Las Mingas

My journey down the rabbit hole of specialty coffee has generally followed the three questions voiced in the our vision.  Over the last year, we have attempted to connect this small operation with those working directly with farmers or cooperatives–seeking ever a direct connection and a means by which we could directly reward the farmers and producers at the front end of the coffee chain.  Many times, the efforts have proved difficult or impossible, as we rarely buy more than 5-10 bags of any particular lot.

One program that had us hooked from the start is the Las Mingas program from Virmax.  Las Mingas, loosely translated means “for the good of all”.  The program focuses on quality, and provides a transparent pricing process from farmer, exporter, importer and buyer.  Virmax works with selected farms and cups individual lot samples–samples that score above an 84 approved as individual lots and then sent off to potential buyers for evaluation.  Buyers cup the samples, and then set the price based on the buyer’s cupping score.  It’s a means for the coffee buyer to directly reward the farmer based on quality.

After reading a bit on the program from our friends at gimme! coffee, including a question and answer session with the Las Mingas program founders Alejandro Cadena and Giancarlo Ghiretti, we contacted Alejandro and through our name in the hat.  Alejandro let us know that he could find small lots that would fit our buying profile.  Last fall, Alejandro sent us three samples from the Tolima region.  All three coffees were excellent, but one stood out above the others.   We approved the sample, agreed on a price based on our cupping score-one well above the fair trade price.

Here are a few details about the farm; I’ll post more on the farm and the coffee tomorrow, along with pictures.  Here’s to what I hope is a continuing relationship, and one of first steps of our part to improve the world of coffee.

Farmer Name: Luis Merchan
Farm Name: Los Naranjos

Farm Location
Department: Tolima
Municipality: Planadas
Elevation: 1,800 m.a.s.l. (5,900 ft)

Farm Size: 3.0 hectares
Total Number of trees: 13,000
Varietals: Coffea Arabica: Caturra (60%) / Colombia (40%)
Estimated Annual Production: 50 bags (70-kg net, each)
Harvest time: April – July / November-January
Processing: Natural fermented and fully washed in tanks
Drying: Sun-dried in “heldas” (traditional drying system built on top of the roofs of houses – with a black plastic on top of the wood, which is covered at night and when raining)
Shade Type: Semi shaded with Guamos
Fertilization: Chemical

Advertisements

One Response to “Colombia Las Mingas”

  1. […] No Quarter Coffee « Colombia Las Mingas […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: