Culture: Making our mark in the world
I’m always searching for new exciting, quality coffee from different corners of the coffee globe, but sometimes that coffee finds you. From small town Bury St Edmunds, our local family business has a global reputation it would seem.
I have received calls from farms in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro to be precise, requesting we sample their coffee, to communities in FARC-controlled regions in Colombia looking for speciality coffee roasters in Europe to showcase their coffee. It is this coffee which I would like to talk about in this article.
Nestling high in the Central Colombia Andes mountains of Tolima with the spectacular mountain backdrop of “los Nevados” is a coffee paradise where the Páez indigenous people, having escaped the Spanish invasion in the early 1500s, made their home for around 400 years.
The hamlets of San Pedro and La Bella fall well within the troubled red zone of Colombia, but the wonderful Páez community, with their passion and pride for growing and processing coffee, look set to produce some of Colombia’s finest single origin coffees.
San Pedro and La Bella host more than 1,500 small farms, all above an altitude from 1,700 to over 2,200 meters and from 1 to 6 hectares each. This high altitude is where the real high-quality specialty coffees are found, but coupled with the mineral rich volcanic soil and numerous fresh mountains streams for irrigation, it really makes for something quite special. The coffees grown are Heirloom Typica, Bourbon
and Caturra; some plants are more than 80 years old, fully organic, sustainable and environmentally protected, the area has recently been certified Organic by Mayacert and USDA. The coffees are rich in flavour, with notes of red fruits, herbs, citric and lemon, deep intense chocolate and panela, full bodied, and wonderfully balanced, excellent acidity, with an amazing after taste.
Coffees are all grown the artisanal way, fully washed and fermented up to 36 hours, sun dried, only the finest of the beans are selected when ripe and all are hand-sorted.
Buying this coffee helps the Páez ensure social and economic development, ensuring a future for all concerned.
I can’t wait to visit. . .
Rob Butterworth owns Butterworth & Son coffee roasters and tea smiths, based on Moreton Hall, and Guat’s Up! café in Guildhall Street.
His job takes him around the world visiting coffee farms to source