Mere miles from the majestic Nevado del Huila, the highest volcano in Colombia, sits Agua Blanca. This tiny village is 6,000+ feet above sea level in the heart of Cauca, a department in Colombia that is both beautiful and conflict-ridden. Many smallholder farmers in this area (who individually do not produce enough coffee to be viable for import) contributed to this offering.
These farmers are members of ASORCAFE, an organization started in 2004by 10 coffee growers sick of the low price they were getting for their parchment (processed, dried, unmilled coffee beans). The region’s violent past had kept specialty markets away from the area, but as violence diminished the growers of ASORCAFE began to find many specialty buyers excited to work with them.
One buyer in particular, Aleco Chigounis, began working with them right away— and, due to the strong relationship he formed and the way they discovered coffees together, helped inspire him to start Red Fox Coffee Merchants. As our main source of green coffee, we at Variety are certainly grateful for this relationship. Aleco has this to say about the coffees of ASORCAFE:
"To this day these are still my favorite coffees in all of Latin America. The sweetness is so rich and laden with dark sugar notes of panela/muscovado, aged rum and ripe stone fruits. These are full bodied coffees. They are complete and supreme in the sense of balance . . .They have great focus on ripe cherry selection, manual depulping of coffee beans from their cherries, 18-24 hour fermentation, washing in clean, tiled tanks and drying on raised parabolic beds to protect from the elements."