Colombia

Producer Profile Red Ecolsierra

The nonprofit organization Red Ecolsierra (abbreviated for the “Network of the Ecological Producers in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta”) was created 15 years ago. It's over 350 members who have organic and fair-trade certifications.

It has three goals:

1) Regeneration of the Colombian society after the devastating civil war that has raged for decades in Colombia (awarded for this effort the national prize “Emprender Paz” in 2017)

2) Regeneration of the biosphere of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a UNESCO protected area, the world’s highest coastal mountain, and—according to the International Union for Nature Conservation—the world’s most irreplaceable protected area, and

3) Innovation in the area of and improvement of the quality of specialty coffee.

Victor Cordero is the managing director of the cooperative, with which I have been building up Caventura for the last several years. He is also a prominent leader of his community, a respected coffee producer, a secretary-general of the Organization Fairtrade Latin America (CLAC).

I met him personally in Colombia, during my work for the cooperative back in 2018.

For the last time I met in Vienna in 2019 for the annual meeting of Fairtrade Austria and I have been longing to see him again ever since. I hope to have the chance again after the current crazy situation is over.

“For us, as coffee producers, it is not only important to grow coffee, but to grow the piece and the hope our families so desperately need.”

The Producer Profile Mildred

The hero of the day is Mildred Niebles!

Boy, I would have to write a short story to tell you everything there is to tell about this amazing person. But I’ll try to keep it short to keep it interesting until you have tried her coffee.

She is a coffee producer, yes. But she is also a Q-Grader, a Q-Instructor, and Chief Quality Control Manager of the cooperative Red Ecolsierra.

She is also a mother of three children and a real fighter, who protected her coffee farm during the civil war in Colombia with a real risk for her life! True story: she got shot at by the guerrillas in the mountain.

The Producer Profile Jaime

When I visited Jaime’s farm in 2018, I was surprised by the fact that this very humble and friendly person is not only dedicated to coffee but first and foremost to his family in the community.

Don’t get me wrong—Jaime is dedicated to producing the best coffee possible with all his soul. But he is doing this not only because he loves amazing coffee, but also because he wants to make sure that his children and grandchildren have a decent future and that the nature in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta will continue to exist for the generations to come.

An anecdote: in the region of the Sierra Nevada they call their coffee a “tinto” or literally “colored”. This is because they prefer it less concentrated. They also drink it with a lot of sugar and in huge quantities. The group of harvesters on his farm—usually 5 or 6—would drink an entire bag of 60 kg during one harvest season, which lasts only for a couple of months.

As a comparison—a similar group of ordinary Germans would drink about one-quarter of that quantity.

Thank you, señor Jaime, for your wonderful coffee!

BY CAVENTURA