Trader: Collaborative Coffee Source
Exporter: Fairfield Trading
Hamlet: Santa Maria
Farm Name: Las Palmas
Altitude: 2000 masl
Farm Size: 3 Ha
Soil Type: Clay
Variety: Caturra, Colombia
Other Crops Grown: Plantains, Fruit, Corn & Cassava for family’s own consumption.
Number of people employed at farm: 2 permanent workers, 5 workers during fertilization and 8 pickers during harvest.
About the farmer & his family:
Alfredo is from a very long line of coffee producers, he is the fifth generation to cultivate the crop.
Why do you grow coffee?
Because it allows me to support my family, and it is what we produce in this region.
What are you most proud of?
I am very proud to be a coffee producer.
What are the greatest challenges you face?
Every day I am learning more about coffee and how to improve the quality and quantity.
What are your ambitions for the future?
Plant more trees and rejuvenate the farm.
What would you like roasters to know about your coffee?
My farm is very small, at an altitude of 2000 masl. We work very hard to produce the coffee you are drinking, it is work with a great deal of sacrifice, but also with much love.
Alejandro Renjifo, Fairfield’s founder and director, has a background one might not expect from someone bumping along the dirt roads in and around Acevedo. In his early career as a coffee economist, Alejandro held long stints at both the International Coffee Organization (ICO) and the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia (FNC). Alejandro was responsible for launching the FNC’s specialty division in North America.
During a time when Colombian coffee was mainly characterized by Juan Valdez, a fictional character promoting “Mountain Grown” Colombian coffee, Alejandro was pushing for the FNC to recognize that Colombian coffee is not one thing, but
many, and to promote the incredible diversity of Colombian terroir.
Alejandro has assembled a team in the region including Anna Beatriz Bahamon,
Director of Quality Control and Sample Management, buyer Eduardo Urquina, and roaster Esnaider Ortega (who is also a coffee grower). What impresses us most about the Fairfield team is their finely honed palates, and the rock solid relationships they forge with each smallholder with whom they work. Finding the balance between these two elements of procuring specialty requires great skill.
Fairfield has three tests a coffee must pass to be purchased for their “Single Origin Program”:
- Maximum green bean moisture content of 10% to 11%. The country average in Colombia is 12%.
- A Yield Factor of <90. The country average in Colombia is 94+. 88 is an almost perfect YF.
Yield factor refers to the volume in kilograms of parchment required to produce one bag of Excelso commercial grade green coffee, screen size 14+, 12*60*. Fairfield exports screen size 15+, 3*020. A lower YF requirement ends in shipping an overall lower quality due to the blending of 14+ screen size and the maximum amount of low grade/defects, in order to reach the desired volume for each lot.
*The minimum Excelso Coffee that can be exported from Colombia is known as “UGQ”. This is a coffee lot that must contain 45%-50% of screen size 14 (with a maximum of 5% that falls between screen size 12-14) and 50% screen size 15.
The values “12*60” and “3*20” (above) refer to the preparation basis of a 500g sample, which allows up to a maximum number of x*y defects of Type I and Type II (from SCAA protocol).
Fairfield’s preparation is 3*20 over screen size 15, which approximates the SCAA Specialty Grade, with the exception that they don’t include screen size 14 and SCAA does. The other difference from SCAA standards is that that Fairfield doesn’t promise “0” defects of Type I, as in their experience, this is an improbable promise to deliver on.
- A minimum cup score of 86 points.
Fairfield’s cuppers are very strict, in a typical year the team rejects 40% (+/- 5%) of coffees that meet criteria 1 and 2, but fail 3.
The only time an exception is made is when a client specifically requests slightly lower scoring coffees for regional blends. Even in these cases, the coffees are very good, as they meet the strictest parameters: 1 & 2.
Fairfield Trading and CCS have the same approach to coffee. We both prefer to make long term commitments and build ongoing relationships. The Fairfield Trading “Single Origin Program” is exactly the kind of project we choose to invest in.
The producers, the geography, the climate, our exporting partner and the team they have assembled there, all of these factors combine to make truly remarkable coffees.