Dead Farmers Coffee, Specialty coffee dealers, and green coffee beans exporters with their business model of Single Origin and Direct Trade sources and roast superb and sustainable coffee and Cocoa from the most renowned growing regions in Colombia like Huila, Cauca, Nariño, Tolima, Antioquia, and Quindio. We favor third-party-certified coffee and cacao in order to help guarantee a living wage for historically impoverished farmers.
We support sustainable, environmentally friendly farming and trade practices that provide tangible benefits for farmers and other workers all along the coffee supply chain.
Farmers | Growers | Producers
There are more than 500.000 coffee farmers in Colombia, 80% or more are having less than 3 hectares. Coffee beans are grown all over the country and are spread out in 19 departments (regions), most of them along the three mountain ranges coming from the Andes in the south. The biggest and most well-known regions are Antioquia, Huila, Tolima, Cauca, Nariño, Caldas, Santander, and the Sierra Nevada. The latitudes are ranging from 2 degrees to about 12 degrees. Altitudes for coffee production can vary from 1200 – 2200 meters above sea level. Most coffee farmers are picking, pulping, fermenting, and drying their coffee themselves in their “beneficiaderos”. The coffee beans are then sold in parchment and delivered to the local growers coffee federation mill or the direct trade buyers and exporters, The mill is also a purchasing point for parchment and can be represented by a growers association, a cooperative, an exporter, or just an independent local middleman. There’s always someone buying random coffee, while some others have quality programs or strong relations with the producers.
Farms are typically owned by a single-family living there and working as producers and growers, Everyone in the family is normally involved in the process and they all work at the farm to some extent.
Depending on the size of the farm they have few workers throughout the year as well, they staff up with casual workers for picking, process, etc, during the main harvesting seasons.
All our Colombian coffees are traceable back to the farmer(s) and producers Even for the bigger lots and producer blends.
We buy coffee beans above the current market prices at farm gate, The prices are determined based on the cup quality, cost of production, and the going price for exceptional coffees in Colombia, We share all the information we have upon request with our individual clients and only buy the coffee beans when we know what it is and where it comes from.
Always require information on altitudes and farming practices, harvesting period, processing and drying methods, and storage conditions and seek additional information on lot separation, cultivars, fertilizers, and environmental awareness.
The producer groups, Cooperatives, or individual farmers we buy from are always selected based on their potential and ability to produce unique coffees related to their growing conditions, cultivars, and processing methods.
Dead Farmers Coffee is only seeking coffees with distinct characteristics, Traceability back to the producer, stock lots and process is key Crucial to be able to improve, do product development, and to access the same or better qualities over years.
We cup and do pre-selection in origin to both calibrate and give feedback to the farmers and to have first-hand information of what we are tasting and buying.
We will always cup through a broader range of coffees from each project, producer, or cooperative to understand the range of profiles and qualities and to select the best coffees according to our preferences.
All coffee beans are cupped blindly and properly scored and evaluated before purchase.
Our selection is based on a scoring system, where the general cut is at a minimum of 86 points for the Specialty Micro Lots and 82-84 for the commercial Excelso and Supremo.
We strive to get as many details as we can relate to geography, microclimate, processing, cultivar, farm, or block unless the coffee beans are a mix of multiple small farmers
Cultivar and Varieties
Historically Caturra, Típica Variety in Colombia are generally known for having one of the best flavor attributes for the farmers that’s able to take out the maximum potential of their coffee. Meaning doing everything right at all stages in the production cycle.
For several years some coffee growers have ventured to experiment with new varieties and varietals such as pink, yellow, red bourbon, Tekisic, Laurina, gesha, and rume Sudan. These coffee growers are already well known on the specialty coffee scene with these new different profiles.
we also see a lot of new amazing cups profiles with the Variedad Colombia and Castillo as well. We as others have discovered that if they are well treated by the producer and picked when they are extremely ripe they lose the typical herbal and astringent flavors and become super sweet and complex. Most farmers will have a mix of 1-3 of these cultivars. Some is separating their production by cultivar, but most farmers don’t.
Picking and selection
Coffee cherry is picked in 3-4 passes. Meaning the pickers ideally pick the ripe cherries in one block. Then they wait a few weeks for a decent amount of ripe cherries to pick in that same place. it's hard to deal with pickers at this point to only pick the ripe ones as their volumes will go down and the work will be harder. so Farmers must pay them extra for the effort it can be hard to motivate them. If a producer wants exceptional qualities he/she often has to follow up very closely, or hand sort the cherries after picking before he/she brings them into production. Generally, the first and last pass is of lower quality, and the second and third will be considered as the best, with more ripe cherries and uniform quality.
There are a lot of challenges during harvest. It can be everything from a lack of pickers to weather.
Depending on where you’re at it can be droughts or heavy rains during the production and drying. E.g. Huila can potentially be non-stop rained for weeks while they are harvesting, fermenting, and drying. In Nariño it can be the opposite with high temperatures and droughts. This will again affect maturation, fermentation, and drying. But yet, even if the climate can be challenging, the growing conditions and practices can often compensate for that, and the outcome can be absolutely amazing.
Dry Fermentation is the most common and widely used method. The farmer will have a small "beneficio", a small manual or electric pulper, and a fermentation tank. The pulp the cherries in the afternoon. The coffees are going straight from the pulper into the fermentation tank. It can sit there for one to two days, depending on the temperature. Higher temperatures will speed up the fermentation process, and lower temperatures will slow it down. Some producers do intermediate rinsing with water, which can also help them control the process.
Wet fermentation meaning the added water to the tank after pulping. They often change the water numerous times as well. This will both slow down the fermentation time and you get a bigger “window” from when it’s done until it gets over fermented and to pulpy in flavor. It’s also good as they will normally be able to skim off the floaters during the rinse and get a better selection.
Washing and grading
The way of washing and grading varies a lot. Some producers have channels and some don’t. The channels are often short, and they don’t require a huge amount of water. They normally stir the coffees in the channels before they remove the floaters. For the ones, without channels, it’s common to wash the coffees in the fermentation tank and skim off the floaters before it goes to drying.
The coffees are generally sun-dried on rooftops or dried in parabolic dryers that almost work as greenhouses for smallholders. Some others dry in wood beds or also use "silos", There are many different variations and constructions, but generally they are all systems that can protect the coffee from rain.