In recent years, some of the best coffees have been coming out of Huila in southern Colombia. Los Naranjos is a coop of 97 small-hold farmers who produce around 2000 bags total per year. The coffee has scored in the high 80s in several competitions, including the SCAA cupping pavilion, where it placed 8th. This Colombia coffee is smooth and rich with milk chocolate and pear with a touch of fennel in the flavor notes.
Producer: Asociacion Los Naranjos
Elevation: 1,600 - 1,900m
The Region: Huila and San Agustin
Huila is a province in southwestern Colombia that lies between the Eastern and Central mountain ranges. The Magdalena river winds its way through the entire region, which is also home to Colombia’s second highest peak: the Nevado del Huila volcano. With an average temperature of 65°F year-round and fertile soil that also contains a variety of rich mineral resources, Huila boasts a vibrant agricultural industry.
The town of San Agustín lies right on the banks of the Los Naranjos river, just under 300km south of the city of Cali. Here lies the focal point of where the two mountain ranges converge, and to the west is a large biosphere known as the Cueva de los Guácharos. Those who live in San Agustín believe that the large tracts of preserved forest protect them from violent weather and provide a peaceful place to live and farm. In this lush land full of butterflies and enormous flowers, their small, beautiful coffee farms dot the riverbanks and the high mountainsides. The area is also well known for its pre-Colombian archaeological sites that consist of giant carved stone figures and have been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Hundreds of tourists, both foreign and domestic, visit these sites every year.
The Producer: Asociación Los Naranjos
Los Naranjos was formed in 2001 when some of the local farmers joined together with the intention of improving their managerial skills and gaining access to the elusive “specialty coffee market.” It is now a cooperative of 97 small-hold farmers who produce a total of around 2000 bags of coffee per year. Each farm is an average of 1.5 hectares in size and coffee plants are grown on a plateau ranging in elevation between 1,600 and 1,900 meters. Coffee beans are all fully washed, patio sun-dried, and hand sorted to ensure the highest quality beans. Producers’ facilities are remarkably clean and they do all of the pulping, fermenting, and drying on-site at their farms.