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RAW CACAO BEANS
Caesca is a Specialty Single Origin Raw cacao beans associative project that surges from the need to promote Colombian cacao which recently has become one of the finest in the world, 95% of Colombia’s cacao exports are considered “Fine Flavour” by the International Cacao Organisation.
Caesca advises growers and families from the region of Maceo-Antioquia, and Manaure-Cesar on the implementation of improvements in the harvest and post-harvest process of specialty cocoa production and the search for strategies to make them part of the insertion process to international markets and thus get better prices for their crops.
The project articulates the academy, the industry, and the producers represented by the association of cacao farmers of Maceo - ASOCAMA, and the association of cacao farmers of Manaure - CACAOMA.
Colombian Cacao Regions
There are more than 500.000 coffee producers in Colombia, 80% or more are having less than 3 hectares. Coffee is grown all over the country and is 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. All producers are picking, pulping, fermenting, and drying their coffee themselves in their “beneficiaderos”. The coffee is 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 on 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 coffees 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 coffees 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 as well as storage conditions, also 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 producers 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 coffees are cupped blindly and properly scored and evaluated before purchase.
Our selection is based on a scoring system, where the general cut of 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 is a mix from 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
Coffees are 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. In e.g. Huila, it can potentially be non stop rain 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. They pulp the cherries in the afternoon. The coffees are going straight from the pulper into the fermentation tank. It can sit there from 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 a 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 the drying.
For smallholders, the coffees are generally sun-dried on rooftops or dried in parabolic dryers that almost work as greenhouses. Some others dry in wood beds or also use "silos", There are many different variations and constructions, but generally they are all systems that are able to protect the coffee from rain.
Maceo is Located in the southern cone of America, on a jungle mountain, full of woods, in the subregion of Magdalena Medio, province of Antioquia in Colombia. Also, known as the "land of dreams", Maceo found in cacao production a way to rebuild their lives and an opportunity to reconstruct their history after being severely affected by a long-armed conflict. Maceo's people thus earned their identity as a cacao municipality in Colombia.
Manaure is located in the southern cone of America, among the sinuously shaped Colombian central mountain range, surrounded by an imposing diversity of landscapes, fauna, and flora, there is the "tourist balcony of Cesar", Manaure. Despite a historical legacy of violence, due to the Colombian arm conflict, this town resisted and rises to become one of the most important agricultural pantries of the province. Amid cedars, bananas, cassava, and fruit trees, cacao pods grow as a commitment of people to peace, with a keen hope to open the doors of this balcony to the world.
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