Pitalito, Colombia holds a special place in our hearts. The small town in southwest Colombia is the birthplace of Farm Select, a program we’ve helped Cafe Imports (and Banexport) pioneer to give recognition and value in the supply chain.
William Munoz is part of what we could call “Farm Select 2.0.” The program initially started with William’s uncle, Gabriel Munoz. We met William how we meet most producers in coffee origins— through tasting their coffee. Our relationship with Cafe Imports and green buyer Sam Miller has been the foundation for our sourcing intentions. All of our coffee is purchased through Cafe Imports; we trust our partners, and they trust us. Farm Select is a program that has been dreamt over through endless conversations on origin trips. We wanted a way to be able to purchase a producer’s entire crop with it separated into multiple lots based on quality and variety. Cafe Imports works with Jairo Ruiz, owner of BanExport in Pitalito. Jairo has been involved in many conversations with us about our intentions in supporting producers in origin. BanExport’s Pitalito team organized a few local producers for us to taste in a blind cupping after understanding our needs and vision.
Our cupping with BanExport and Cafe Imports is crucial for the export of coffees. The tasting determines the quality, and ultimately the price the producer will receive for their lot. William Munoz’ coffee stood out amongst the rest. His coffee was well rounded, clean and sweet. It embodied what we would call “a classic Colombian coffee.” Before committing to his coffee, we needed to meet William as we find it important to have a relationship directly with producers.
A long winding road took us to William’s property. The road was so steep, the vehicles had a hard time climbing the dirt paths. The sun was shining but the cool temps of the altitude kept the conditions comfortable. We were greeted by William, his wife, and daughters. They all wore smiles, and were very proud to have us as guests. They showed us their washing station where they remove coffee cherries, and talked about innovative fermentation methods. What stood out to us most is their relationship with their pickers, and their overall intentionality with sorting.
Sorting coffee cherries by ripeness is extremely important in fermentation to ensure the sugar content is similar between coffee cherries within a lot. BanExport is helping monitor the processing at William’s property. They provide tools and education to create consistency.
We will have multiple lots from William’s harvest arriving throughout the year. The first crop is sorted by variety. The Pink Bourbon variety is unique and delicate—creating juicy cups of coffee. We’re excited to work with William and support the supply chain of coffee the best we can. Support sustainable supply chains, and purchase William’s coffee here.
While we wait out the uncertainty of this pandemic, it’s important for us to maintain the relationships we have. We’re fortunate to have traveled to origin as much as we have, and we can’t wait to be back on those small dusty streets in Pitalito.
~ Sam Levar