Colombia is the third largest coffee producer behind Brazil and Vietnam, and produces the largest amount of Arabica beans in the world. Average annual production is over 11.5 million bags. Santander is one of the earliest recorded growing regions, with reports of production dating back to the late 1700’s. By the second half of the 19th century, it was being exported to the United States and Europe. When international coffee prices dropped, many large farms were forced to stop production, and coffee production in Colombia stalled. As a result, many smaller farms were able to introduce coffee plants and small growers became the dominant force behind the country’s coffee production.
The municipality of Ocamonte in Santander contains many small farms, and about 270 farming families belong to The Asociación Pequeños Caficultores de Ocamonte (APCO,) an association that cultivates a varietal called Castillo. This strain is incredibly resistant to coffee rust, also called Roya, a fungus that affects the leaves of the coffee plant and, in severe cases, kills entire crops. This disease had a huge effect on much of Central and South America’s coffee crop in 2012, causing a shortage in crops and a worldwide surge in pricing. The National Federation of the Coffee Growers of Colombia commissioned the development of this coffee variety to combat the coffee rust epidemic.
Our FTO Colombia Santander Ocamonte has a rich body, with heavy notes of almond and light, clean notes of lemon.
Image Credit: McKay Savage