Partnered with Stumptown
Caturra, Colombia, Castillo
On our menu
As the exporter partner for these coffees, Caravela provides quality control and agronomy training to these young cooperatives. Our coffees primarily come out of the Abades cooperative, which represents 240 producers (organized into nine sub-groups) in total.
While it existed, the Borderlands project had focused heavily on proper measurement and metric reporting from the beginning. One amazing metric shared was that farmers incomes have increased 46% since the project started in 2011. Many expressed that the most significant success of the project was not the increased incomes, but the friendships and trust they’d been able to build in their communities.
Earlier last year our coffee team traveled to Colombia with our importer and exporter partner Caravela. The primary purpose of the visit was to connect with producers from the Borderlands groups in the department of Nariño. This area of Colombia borders Ecuador in the south and is renowned for having some of the highest quality coffee in the country.
This is a coffee we’ve had on our menu and loved for years; offered previously as Colombia Nariño Borderlands. Originally named after the Borderlands Project, which was started by Catholic Relief Services in 2011 as an effort to develop market access for previously unorganized smallholders. Catholic Relief Services funding of the project ended in 2017, but Stumptown’s relationships with the communities continue. We asked the producer group what they would like to call their coffee, and they suggested Huayku - a Quechua word that refers to a valley that is formed when mountains move.
We’re proud to offer this selection from Nariño Borderlands Coffee Project. As we hoped, we’re already seeing improved coffee quality inspired by the developing Direct Trade relationship with an incentive based program that encourages an emphasis on quality.
Corona Zambrano cultivates her Yellow Maragogype, an extremely rare coffee variety on her farm, La Primavera, in the Linares community in Nariño. When we visited Nariño, we went to her farm, tasted her Yellow Maragogype and knew we had to share it. In addition to cultivating delicious coffee, Corona also provides leadership in the community. She works with the community’s agronomy secondary and high school. She also gives her unique coffee varieties to the school’s test garden.
The Nariño Borderlands Coffee Project began in 2013 as a way to empower local farmers, encourage quality coffee cultivation and improve livelihoods in Nariño through relationships built upon mutual commitment to quality. The project supports small holder farmers with information on best practices of agronomy, processing, business management and savings. Historically, Nariño’s farmers sold everything to two large buyers at a baseline price, with no rewards for quality. This project sets aside quality coffee in separate lots prior to combining the rest of the coffee into a bulk offering. Their system rewards quality with price premiums which encourage quality. Logistics in the area have remained complicated due to illicit agriculture, armed conflict, displacement and mining interests. Due to these factors, developing coffee as a sustainable means to make a living is timely.
Although the project progressed on a planned washing station, bureaucratic concerns slowed it down. The plans for the station, created with students from the local university, have been completed. We’re stoked to see that they intend to include separate tanks to experiment with processing techniques and further innovation. They will also create a raised bed drying system with fans and other innovations.