Intelligentsia wasn’t just a charter member of the Advisory Council for our Borderlands project in Nariño, Colombia–conversations with coffee buyer Geoff Watts dating back to 2010 helped shape the project’s design and planted the seeds for the Colombia Sensory Trial, our partnership with leaders in specialty coffee, research and philanthropy on a rigorous comparative analysis of the cup quality of Castillo and Caturra varieties.
Today, almost five years after our initial conversations with Geoff and the team at Intelligentsia, they release their first lot from the Borderlands project–a single-farm lot grown by Fidencio Chamorro, a leader in the community of Linares. It was worth the wait.
Finca La Loma
Alto de Aranda
BASIC FARM DATA
FARM SIZE: 5 ha (2.5 ha in coffee)
PRINCIPAL VARIETIES: Colombia (3000 plants), Castillo (5000 plants)
FARM-LEVEL PROCESSING: traditional washed process, sun-dried on patios
Fidencio is young. Just 27. But he has emerged as a leader in Linares, where he represents the spirit of a new generation of farmers approaching coffee entrepreneurially, collectively and with a strong focus on cup quality. Fidencio’s coffee earned the highest cupping score in the project during the 2013 harvest. We recognized him and other growers for their efforts to improve cup quality during a ceremony later that year, and the first time I visited him at his home his plaque was hanging proudly on the wall.
In Linares, sugar cane is more common than coffee and the temptation to plant coca is always strong. Fidencio sees coffee as a better option than both–licit and potentially lucrative.
He lives in the vereda Alto de Aranda, which is well-named. The road to his house from the center of Linares climbs relentlessly, and at an implausible angle. The path from there to his coffee fields winds at a similar angle up, up, and up further still, to more than 2000 meters at the highest reaches of the farm, where the view is impressive.
Intelligentsia finds Fidencio’s coffee irrepressibly sweet, with notes of mandarin, maple and candied pecan.
After the disappointment of the 2013 harvest, when his coffee sat in a warehouse unable to move due to weeks of strikes that blocked the main roads in and out of Nariño, just seeing this coffee released is sweet justice for Fidencio and everyone else who worked to get it to market.
Buy Fidencio’s coffee.