Posted in Kafevend Blog
We very much hope that you enjoyed our look at Colombian cocoa last week. Prior to directing our attention to another part of the world, we pause to consider the other string to Colombia's bow. It's a product very close to our heart here at Kafevend. We are talking, of course, about its coffee, widely considered absolutely superb.
No robusta is grown in Colombia, only the best arabica. Cultivated in the moist, temperate climate of the Andean foothills, the coffee cherries enjoy an ideal environment, resulting in a sweeter more mellow profile than is common elsewhere. It is believed by many that the practice of coffee cultivation was introduced to Colombia during the 1700s by Jesuit priests. While there is no absolute proof that this was indeed the case, what is absolutely certain is that it took until the early twentieth century for the coffee industry to really take off. Following the 'Thousand Days War', a civil conflict spanning 1899 to 1903, coffee farming became a route by which to regain economic security and soon established the country as one of the world's top coffee producing nations.
As we become increasingly concerned in the first world with the provenance of the items in our larder, Colombian coffee appears to fit the bill. It will have reached our coffee shops and supermarket shelves via the ecologically responsible route of small scale farming, shade grown crops and careful harvesting by hand. Nevertheless, as is so often the case, the coffee growing communities tend to miss out on the economic rewards that ought to be forthcoming for high quality, ethically farmed coffee because of the inevitable middle men in the supply chain. This is an issue fully recognised by 'The Colombian Coffee Company'. Founded by Eduardo Florez, born and raised in Colombia himself, he has first hand knowledge of the challenges facing the nation.
His company, a social enterprise at heart, is committed to helping Colombian coffee growers in a number of ways. Besides the challenge of securing a fair price for the coffee harvest, the civil war which has been ongoing in the country for half a century, has too often lead to the displacement of communities and subsequent poverty. Art, photography and social media are therefore being used to raise awareness by engaging the wider world in the individual stories of the coffee workers.
Secondly, sales of single origin Colombian coffee to the British public are guaranteed to have been purchased directly from farmers at almost twice the market price. The company runs a coffee club which the public can subscribe to for £10 a month and receive a different bag of single origin coffee to try each time. They are also involved in seeking crowd funding in order to get a café up and running in the London area. Finally, part of the profits made are ploughed directly back into social projects providing even more support for coffee growing communities where it's most needed.
Colombian coffee already has a reputation for excellent quality, but we feel sure that the coffee marketed by 'The Colombian Coffee Company' tastes even better for its social conscience. We wish both them and the communities they represent every success for the future.