Farm – Colombia Inga Aponte
Altitude – 1800 – 2250 masl
Location –Nariño, Sur del Huila
Preparation – Wet processed
Variety – Caturra
Owner – La Meseta Exporter
The Inga people are descendants of the pre-Hispanic Inca’s who used to roam the Andes of Northern Peru until they were driven away into hiding high in the Andes of Northern Ecuador and Colombia during the Spanish conquest of South America. There were sights of the Inga people returning in the mid-19th Century when they took to farming rubber and Quinoa. They were then forced to flee again in the 1930’s during the war between Peru & Colombia. They eventually returned in the 1990’s under an agreement with the government under the protected territories program, but the land that had previously provided suddenly trapped them in the midst of a war in the mid 90’s. During this period they were subject to human right violations and forced into the illegal farming of illicit drugs under the influence of Guerilla groups, drug traffickers and paramilitary groups. In 2005 this came to an end with Government military intervention in the region allowing them to rip up the opium and poppy plants and replace them with Caturra seedlings laying out a future in coffee free from oppression. These farms sit in a picturesque location under the shadow of the Volcano Galeras, which sprinkles ash upon the land providing nutrient rich soil giving a unique flavour to the coffees.
The Inga Aponte see Mother Earth as sacred and practise organically as much as they can but do require the use of some fertiliser on the trees. The high altitude also has the effect of a natural pesticide limiting damage to crops. Once the cherry is ripe the coffee is picked and then pulped using a hand eco pulper. The beans are then left to ferment for 18-26 hours in tanks to allow the acids to develop and to eat away at the mucilage surrounding the bean allowing the flavour to develop. Fermentation at the high altitude usually requires a longer period of time due to the lower temperatures. After fermentation the beans enter washing tanks where the remaining mucilage is removed and then transferred to either raised African beds or to parabolic dryers where the beans dry for between 4-6 days depending on the weather and humidity. Once the coffee has reached the adequate moisture level of 11-12%, it is then taken to a small local mill in Chinchina, where it is milled ready for export to port.