One of the most exciting parts of our trip was a visit to Cenicafe, the FNC or Colombia Coffee Federation’s Research and Development Division. For me, it was an opportunity to see first hand the work being done in Colombia to help the farmers improve in 3 key areas on their farms: productivity, reducing the cost of production, and increasing prices to help the farmers increase their profits. Cenicafe is the scientific hub, and certainly a world leader in coffee science and development.
One of the most amazing parts of Cenicafe is how they seem to be ahead of the curve in planning for what’s to come. Roya, or coffee leaf rust, has been devastating crops throughout Central and South America. Years ago, Cenicafe started creating new strains of rust resistant coffees in preparation for this. Today, the coffee industry is thriving in Colombia due to these resistant strains, while many other countries are struggling to keep farms alive. And like many diseases, Roya is constantly mutating to try to affect coffee plants. Cenicafe has been able to stay ahead of these mutations with their ongoing research. It was an amazing morning to see how Cenicafe is benefiting and helping Colombia coffee farmers succeed.
We then traveled to a coffee mill that Single Origin Coffee uses in the final steps of preparation for coffee to be shipped. Once the coffee has been dried at the farms, it is called parchment. This is the last layer of protection around the beans. It’s a dry covering, much like wheat chaff. The mill removes this final layer, grades and sizes the beans, and prepares them for export. This mill works with Single Origin as part of the chain of custody to ensure all the coffees that have their logo on the bag are actually from where it says. The advantage to using this mill is that they will prepare small microlots to be shipped and guarantee no cross mixing with other coffees. The last picture is an example of how this process works and what the final product looks like before it is shipped to Canada for sale to roasters.
It was a great day with lots of travel. We finished it off with a delicious meal at Mama’s house. It was a fantastic dinner to celebrate Thanksgiving for those of us from Canada. I think the pictures of the food tell the story pretty well.