Gaitania is a small town in the Planadas municipality in the very south of Tolima. An area that only ten years ago were very much suffering from the war between the FARC guerrilla and the Colombian government army, but that is now getting back on its feet. It’s an area in quick development, and we see roadworks and infrastructure improvements many places as we drive through the beautiful landscapes.
After cupping her coffee, meeting her in person, and visiting her farm, it was no big surprise to find that Astrid Medina is the winner of 2015 Cup of Excellence. We have formed a partnership with her, and have committed to purchase all the coffee they produce that fulfill our criteria regarding cupping score, yield factor, moisture level, and so on. Astrid said that she now finally can paying the pickers what they want and deserve, because of the premium we will pay.
We have been working with Astrid Medina and buying her coffee since 2015. After visiting her and her husband Raul Antonio Duran Gutierrez at their farm, and meeting them in person, we right away understood that they were exceptional people. The farm Buenavista is in the hamlet of Gaiatania, in the very south of Tolima. With its high altitudes and generous climate, it is perfect conditions, and it has a long history of coffee growing.
This is a very remote area, and was for a long time not exactly the safest place you could go in Colombia. Unfortunately, this region suffered a lot during the conflict with the guerrilla, so the infrastructure is not so good, and international coffee buyers didn’t dare to come here for several years. But that’s in the past, and we are now experiencing big improvements in infrastructure and Southern Tolima is getting a lot of attention.
Astrid Medina won the Cup of Excellence in Colombia in 2015, and this also helped to give the growers in Tolima the reputation and attention they deserve.
Astrid and Raul are very switched on and open-minded, always wanting to improve their product. They are keeping the farm in perfect condition, and constantly experimenting and implementing new ideas to improve the processing.
The coffee is picked, processed and dried on the farm before it is delivered as dry parchment to the Cooperative’s purchasing point.
Cherries are handpicked.. After fermentation (overnight, 12 to 16 hours), the coffee is washed and floaters, and damaged cherries are separated.The coffees are rinsed in clean water before drying.
Drying in Tolima is done on small patios or in ventilated parabolic dryers to cover it from the rain. Astrid Medina has an impeccible set-up for drying, in well ventilated and covered drying beds.
After the coffee is dried, it is delivered to Cafisur coop’s bodega in Planadas, where the first QC takes place. Cafisur is a cooperative that has 5 main areas for purchasing, all in very remote places in the southern parts of Tolima. Some of the purchasing points are close to the borders of both Cauca and Huila.