The Coffee Story
Nolberto Olaya’s family farm can be found in the hills of Planadas municipality in the Tolima department of Colombia, 40 km from the municipality’s capital. The farm has produced Organic coffees for many years now, including having been a member of ASOPEP (Association of Organic Producers of Planadas) beginning in 2010. In 2018 however, Nolberto left the association in order to diversify the production of the farm and take more complete control of the operations at La Cinta. Since then, Nolberto’s knowledge and experience has opened up new access and opportunities, improved transparency, and created better income from his coffee crop. He’s also found success in helping other producers in the community transition to organic production, with five farms in the area now growing Organic coffee.
La Cinta rests in the woods 1700 meters above sea level and includes 8 hectares of planted coffee. The property includes processing equipment and infrastructure to dry coffee, along with a quality control lab which contains a one-barrel sample roaster, a mobile stove, and cupping gear. Nolberto’s oldest son, Jefferson, is a CQI Q Grader and helps his father with onsite quality control and feedback on post-harvest processes. The farm also produces and processes some cacao in order to cover costs and reduce risks. Nolberto’s daughter, Marcela, and her mother, Eloina, learned how to process cacao and now make chocolate bars and other products from their cacao for sale.
Nolberto stresses the importance of using onsite materials and compostables from processed food to create blends of organic materials that will act as a fertilizer, quality booster and immunity shield for the plant. He produces and mixes calcium rich ashes, mulch, and earthworms, as well as compost from coffee pulp and cane sugar molasses. Though the process requires lots of additional work and knowledge, this step is particularly important for Nolberto because he grows several varieties of coffee that aren’t particularly hardy or disease resistant. Through this additional work he’s able to continue getting quality crops and good yields from all of his coffee plants.
This lot of Caturra coffee underwent Natural processing. Freshly harvested cherries are floated to sort the coffee and remove floaters. Cherries are then fermented in plastic tanks for 100–120 hours. After fermentation, the cherries are rinsed and taken to the greenhouse drying area. Cherries are dried approximately 20 days, utilizing the naturally occurring convection and hot air circulation of the greenhouse environment. Nolberto’s organic farm and post-harvest management practices allow him to boost his fermentations with highly concentrated cultures of symbiotic microorganisms and bacteria like saccharomyces and lactobacillus.