Farm: Finca Las Acasias
Varietal: Caturra & Colombia
Processing: Fermented for 24 Hours, washed & sun dried on marquesinas
Altitude: 1,800 metres above sea level
Owner: Joaquin Emilio Foronda
Town / City: Andes
Overall: Apricot & bright acidity.
Las Acacias (Andes) - Colombia
Joaquín Emilio Foronda’s family began their lives as coffee producers in the nearby valley, but in 1978 Joaquín’s father purchased a farm located high in the mountains near the town of Andes (in Antioquia’s southwest) and moved the family there. The farm’s location was ideal, high in the hills surrounding the town of Jardín at 1,800 metres above sea level. However, the family (like so many in the area) have faced hardship. Coffee leaf rust and coffee borer beetle are rife in the region and have often stood in the way of Joaquín’s goal of producing a very high quality product. This is why the family has subscribed as members of the Cooperativa de Caficultores de Andes (Cooperandes).
The farm provides the family’s sole livelihood, and on such a small parcel of land, Joaquín knows it is important to make the very most of what they have, which is why their membership with Cooperandes is so important. With the advice of Cooperandes agronomists, they apply the very best practices in all aspects of cultivation and processing. They also keep their own nursery to help with renovation activities. Since they have joined up, they’ve made huge improvements to their coffee’s quality, and they even hope to one day be recognised nationally and internationally for the quality of their coffee.
All coffee at Las Acasias is hand harvested, sorted to remove any underripe or damaged cherries and then pulped on the same day it is picked. Coffee is fermented in tanks for around 24 hours and afterwards is washed in cool, clean water. It is finally delivered to dry on parabolic beds under the sun. These parabolic beds, known locally as marquesinas – which are constructed a bit like ‘hoop house’ greenhouses, with airflow ensured through openings in both ends – both protect the parchment from rain and mist as it is dried and prevent condensation from dripping back on the drying beans.
After reaching 11 per cent humidity, the coffee is bagged and then stored to rest for 2 weeks, after which it is taken to the Andes collecting centre for dry milling.
Founded in 1961, Cooperandes, receives coffee from more than 11,000 smallholders living in the foothills of the Eastern Colombian Mountain range. Smallholder farmer members within the cooperative’s area of influence benefit from exceptional agro-ecological conditions that are ideal for growing coffee, and Cooperandes has funded multiple initiatives to improve lives and quality of production for their members – including ‘coffee stores’ to facilitate access to crop inputs such as fertiliser and pest controls. Through the cooperative’s technical assistance and support (for instance, an educational program to create opportunities for the youth that they have established in partnership with the University of Antioquia), Cooperandes is helping producers such as Joaquín and his family gain more visibility on the international market.