The latest coffee to hit the roastery is this year’s harvest from Colombia’s Fondo Paez Cooperative. And boy are we psyched. This crop is one of the best we’ve ever tasted from them, which is saying a lot in a relationship that has spanned over a decade.
The 550 farmers in this coop focus on organic fair trade coffee, but only as part of a larger strategy to achieve their ambitious goals. These include not only sustainable economy and ecology (the coop farmers are avid savers of heirloom maize seeds), but preservation of the Paez cultural traditions. The Paez are the largest indigenous group in Colombia, and they have won constitutional control over their ancestral lands.
T.J. Semanchin, Kickapoo Coffee’s owner, first forged a relationship with Fondo Paez in 2004. It was at a time when traveling in the Colombian countryside was not advisable due to the long running war between the Colombian government and the FARC guerillas. The Fondo Paez representatives and elders that T.J. met in the nearby town of Popayan offered the invitation to their coffee farms with the assurance that they would personally provide for his safety. It was a risk, but the Paez’s integrity and determination eased any fears. More than a decade later Fondo Paez as an organization has persevered and grown even in the face of the extreme challenges and violence that has marred Colombia’s civilians.
In 2014, Coffee Review scored our Fondo Paez a 93 and in February of 2008, it scored a 95 – the highest for any Colombian coffee that year. It is an amazing feat that these small scale organic, indigenous farmers can produce one of the best coffees in the world. We are proud this relationship has continued all these years and that we are able to offer you this amazing coffee, share the story behind it and support these determined farmers in their quest for a better world.