A model that is centred around Unit 14, with large lots and complimentary smaller lots making up the bulk of our buying from key producers. Juan seemed like a perfect fit for a lot of reasons, firstly the coffees were exceptional not only the microlots and experimental coffees but also the larger lots. As well as having two farms of his own Juan has an export company called Tierra De Café and exports coffees from a number of other farmers in the region, the coffee we use for Unit 14 still comes entirely from La Claudina which is a very productive farm but additionally with access to regional community blends and microlots from a number of producers the ability to scale our work there is a great foundation to build a strong partnership.
This model of buying is the backbone of our business and how we ensure it is sustainable for years to come.
November 2018 was our first trip out to see him in Bolivar just south of Medellin the capital of Antioquia. Juan’s two farms La Claudina and El Encanto are both a little ways outside of Bolivar, in the same area but about 40 minutes apart from each other. His business is very much based around the town as it is there right on the square opposite the church he has a cupping lab and office. He is an important figure in the local coffee community as he cups samples of other producers' coffees and has an export licence so can help them secure better value for their goods. He works with anywhere between 20-30 producers at a time, helping them to transition from commercial coffee towards specialty, in addition to helping farmers acquire and establish wholly new farms.
On each of our visits we’ve enjoyed the coffee from Juan’s farms as well as those of his neighbouring producers but time and again the coffees from La Claudina stand out to us, they are simply some of the most delicious coffees we’ve tasted from Colombia. We feel very honoured that we are able to buy such a large portion of what La Claudina produces, of course for our Unit 14 but also several amazing experimental micro-lots each year. Working with farmers so directly and consistently over the years allows us the stability of knowing each year we will have excellent coffee and for them the stability of knowing they will have a buyer and receive a good price.