Mandarin Orange | Pineapple | Pear
- Farm: La Esparanaza
- Municipality: Arrayan Bajo
- Region: Pasto, Nariño, Colombia
- Farmer:José Alirio Tapia Andrade
- Processing Method: Washed, dried on patio, then on covered and raised beds
- Varieties: Castillo
- Altitude: 1920-2050 meters above sea level
Jose Alirio’s coffee farming story is one that starts out in a familiar way. He began cultivating coffee at a young age, but due to the difficulty in earning a sustainable income, he gave it up for a time and moved to an area to harvest illicit crops. The work itself was easier and the money was better. Over time, he moved away from this, as even though the money was better, the life was not sustainable. He wound up near the municipality of La Caldera, which is very close to the land he farms today.
In addition to coffee, José Alirio grows plantains that he sells at a farmers market in the department’s capital, Pasto. His two plots of land - La Esparanza, and Los Naranjos - are located within a 15 minute motorcycle ride of one another. Out of his 6 children, two have moved on to become coffee farmers themselves, while another manages Los Naranjos. The youngest is a trained copper and still lives with José Alirio and his wife Ida Teresa.
One permanent employee manages La Espranza outside of harvest season, undertaking the fertilizing, pruning and weeding. During harvest, a small team of local pickers helps the whole family manage the picking, and José Alirio himself does all of the processing. Even at 71 years old, he spend his harvest time picking and processing. Once the coffee is depulped, it is fermented for 12 hours before being dried at first on a concrete patio, then on raised covered beds. The concrete patio step helps shed the free moisture, and the raised beds let the remaining excess moisture evaporate more slowly. This last step keeps the moisture in the coffee more evenly distributed, which is essential for the long-lasting quality.
Director of Coffee