La Victoria is a producers' association in the town of Santa Maria, Huila, Colombia. During the decades-long unrest between the Colombian government and guerrilla forces, this area had been too remote for Colombian authorities to access, thus severely limiting the coffee growing community’s market access or interaction with the National Coffee Federation. However, an unexpected outcome of this isolation is that these farmers never transitioned to the hybrid-varietals that are now widespread throughout most of Colombia. This means that these farms, which range in elevation from 1,700 - 2,200 meters, are among very few in Huila that continue to be planted almost exclusively with the classical varietals of Caturra, Typica, and Bourbon. Although we are far from varietal-elitists, there is an undeniable clarity of flavor and lack of herbaceous/savory characteristics with these coffees that distinguish them from many of the Colombian offerings we’ve had the pleasure of tasting in the last several years.
We purchased this selection through The Coffee Quest, an exporting/importing partner that we’ve been chatting with for years but have not formally worked with until now. The Coffee Quest first acquainted this community in 2016, when a surprise message from a Colombian woman living in the US prompted TCQ to welcome samples from this community that wildly exceeded their expectations. As Asociación La Victoria and The Coffee Quest deepened their relationship, TCQ set up a warehouse and cupping lab in collaboration with the association’s buying station, encouraging lot separation and facilitating the construction of both micro-lots and consistently high-quality community and regional lots. In addition to employing and training young members of the association to take on these responsibilities, farmers in this community are finally receiving payment commensurate with the quality of their coffees.
The Coffee Quest also collaborates on an environmental project with the Association and the National Parks of Colombia. This is primarily a reforestation project, including the development of a natural reserve in Santa Maria. Outside of the reserve itself, the National Parks program has designated “buffer zones” that must be hyper-cognizant of waste production during coffee processing. With help from The Coffee Quest and one of their longtime roasting partners, several water-efficient Eco-Washers were purchased for farms in the buffer region. On top of all of this, a large nursery for coffee and other fruit trees has been established in the nature reserve, largely catalyzed by the effective management of organic coffee waste made possible through the usage of the Eco-Washers.
This coffee is superbly sweet, balanced, and refreshing. In the cup, we taste panela, nectarine, and cherry.