Behind the Beans: Familia Gomez from Colombia

When her husband passed away morethan a decade ago, Isuara Martinez wasn’t quite sure what she was going to do about maintaining the family’s 6-hectare coffee farm, located in the prime coffee-growing land in the sub-municipality of El Tabor, located in the Cauca region of Colombia. She, herself, was already in her 50s and was not up to all the work required to continue farming high quality coffee. In a development unusual in rural Colombia today, where small farms are increasingly subdivided into ever smaller parcels as they are passed onto the children of a farm’s owner, Doña Isuara’s children decided to help manage their family’s land collectively.  

Some 10 years on, Familia Gomez is a nice example of how coffee growing can be passed on through generations in rural Colombia. Currently, four brothers and sisters and their families (last name Gomez, after their father) manage the farm, and Doña Isuara manages her own small plot, despite her current age of over 65 years old. Alvaro, Juan, Gloria, and Fabiola now live in different houses on the property, each taking care of different plots but wet processing their days’ pickings together in the farm´s old and original wet mill.

The coffee is handpicked, then sorted to remove any underripe or overripe cherries. They are then pulped to remove external fruit and left to ferment for 48hours, breaking down the remaining mucilage. After fermentation, the coffee is evenly dispersed on raised beds and covered with plastic too dry with protection from any rain or harsh sun.

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