Single Origin - Marisol Urbano, Colombia
This is a really lovely coffee from the Nariño region of Colombia, and just like with our coffee grown by Hugo Melo, we bought the whole lot. We use it in some of our Seasonal Selections, but wanted to offer it as a single origin as well. We feel this is a great coffee for those who want a classic cup profile that is more in the chocolate and nut flavours, and this is a stellar example of that "everyday coffee" type. It's got a medium body, nice sweetness, low acidity and is complex without being too unusual, meaning this is a coffee you can bring home to your parents.
Nariño is a special place to grow coffee – it is geographically, climatically and culturally very distinct from neighbouring states, and the cup profiles are no less unique. Rich volcanic soils and an Andean climate (meaning a truly distinct harvest season where the rest of the Southern states are picking coffee all year round) make this a captivating, vast and in many areas, uncharted territory. Producers are small, biodiversity is traditional, soils are nutrient rich and well-drained, and we consistently see sweet and complex coffees from here.
The region of Nariño is geographically isolated from many services, Generally, soils are full of lava deposits from eruptions of the many surrounding volcanoes. Topsoil is relatively deep, well-drained and loamy. But with such high rainfall and steep slopes (75% is common), erosion is a problem for annual crops. Coffee is one of the very few environmentally sound cash crops to grow in the region.The region is blessed with incredibly high average altitudes and a lot of Caturra, a great varietal. Traditional practices are the norm, meaning ground cover, shade trees and household food crops characterize every coffee plantation. The transport costs of bringing in chemical fertilizers are prohibitive, so in general, producers use a vast amount of organic compost instead. Because of all these challenges, the area does not produce nearly as much coffee as Huila, the more well known coffee producing part of Colombia.
The farm is owned by a woman (quite rare) named Marisol, who cultivates coffee on her farm Finca El Porvenir in the township of Belen, in the municipality of Tablón de Gomez. She picks perfectly ripe cherries, de-pulps the coffee, and leaves it to ferment in the cool air for anywhere from 14-22 hours in an open tank. Drying is traditional, allowing the parchment to dry slowly on patios for around 2 weeks.
Price paid to farmer: $1.49 USD per pound
+ 18% above C-Market Price
+ 24% above Local Price
But those percentages don't tell the whole story. This price is the Farm Gate Price, meaning our importer paid this amount directly to the farmer, picking up the coffee at the "gate" to their farm and took care of milling the coffee and transporting it to the port. When coffee is typically purchased, the price you see listed doesn't all go to the farmer; often the mill, exporters and transportation companies will get paid first, cover their costs and then the money will get back to the farmer, often months later. Shared Source pays them immediately on receipt of the parchment (green coffee before it is milled).
There isn't always a lot of transparency about where the money goes, but often a farmer may only receive 50-75% of the price paid for a coffee after everyone else gets their share. If this coffee had been purchased using conventional methods, its cost would have been around $2.50-$3.00 per pound US and would be close to three times above the C-Market price. We paid $4.30 USD per pound landed price to get it to Vancouver including exporting and importing costs.
$12.77/kg - our price paid for the coffee (CAD)
$1.05/kg - import, shipping and freight
$5.45/kg- labour to store, roast, package and quality control
$1.32 - packaging costs
$22.98 TOTAL COST PER KG
We then apply our standard mark up for all coffees.
Farmers who mill or process their own coffee cherries are often able to hold onto more of the money and get a higher price (they get the money that would normally go to a mill), but it's often a financial investment on their part to purchase all the equipment.
We also believe that whenever possible, it's important for roasters to buy from a farmer year after year, building relationships, but to also buy more than just a couple bags from them to provide financial security. We loved this coffee so much, that we bought every bag that Shared Source had. We are looking forward to continuing to work with Marisol in the years to come.
A note on roast dates:
Contrary to most coffee myths (based off old information), it's best not to use coffee that is too fresh. For espresso, we recommend using coffee between three days to four weeks old, while filter and drip coffee it's best if the beans are three weeks to twelve weeks from the date of roasting. We offer the option to select coffee that we have set aside to let rest so it's ready to go when you order it (recommended if you plan on using it for drip or filter coffee, while for espresso it's better to order the standard option). Subject to availability.