El Cedro ("the Cedar tree" in Spanish) is a micro-lot that comes to us from the town of San Antonio, situated in the municipality of Inzá in Colombia's Cauca state. Traditionally, this lot has been named after Francisco Cuchimba, patriarch of the Cuchimba family. Sadly, Don Francisco passed away earlier this year (2021) leaving El Cedro to his family.
The Cuchimba family has been growing coffee on their small 2-hectare farm for over 40 years, tapping a long tradition that brings the whole family together each season to produce some of the best coffee Cauca has to offer. Doña Marcelina, the matriarch of the family, often sits on the small terrace, manually shaking and sorting the coffee to separate the good beans from the defective ones. We respect the labour and craft that went into producing this coffee. Their dedication is admirable and we can't help but feel the pull of family ties that make up the human story behind this lot.
This lot was harvested by hand and processed using the washed method. After the cherries are depulped, they are placed into fermentation tanks, where they are fermented for about 36 hours depending on the temperature conditions. From there, the coffee is taken as wet parchment to the dry mill to be dried on parabolic beds.
During drying, each lot is spread out to carefully control the rate of drying and it is moved or raked about several times a day. Careful and even drying is important to ensure that the moisture content within the bean is kept consistent throughout. This translates to stability of flavours and longer-lasting quality. In all, the coffee takes about 10-12 days to dry to optimum levels.
Inzá is located in the Department of Cauca, bordering with Tolima and Huila and looking out to the west over the Pacific Ocean. Situated on the “Macizo Colombiano” (the Colombian Plateau), the region is an important source of water and wildlife, in addition to being prime coffee growing land.
The region's troubled past posed by armed conflict has given way to a period of relative calm made possible by renewed peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC rebels which began in 2012. With improved access to the market, producers such as the Cuchimba Family are better able to market their coffee as micro-lots to specialty buyers attracted to the region's potential for great coffee.