THE STORY BEHIND MONSERRATE
On the northwest border of Huila, an area in southwest Colombia known for its rich archaeological history, lies a small community named Monserrate. This village is a collection of homes on a single ridge, and in the early aughts, a group of coca farmers began replacing the coca with coffee in an effort to curb the violence that plagued their daily lives.
Although Colombia’s coffee production heritage dates back to the 1800s, the farmers of Monserrate needed to be convinced that growing coffee could not only put an end to drug-related crime but pave the way for a prosperous, sustainable future.
Today Monserrate is a model of transparency and technical assistance (similar in mission to Capucas in Honduras, but smaller). The community shares information among farmers to help produce better quality coffee which is then sold in individual and group lots. Rather than a centralized mill structure, Monserrate is a collection of micro-mills that produce a range of unique flavor profiles.
Our coffee is a blend of these small producers’ mills. It’s mechanically de-pulped, allowed to sit dry in tanks to ferment, and then washed and moved to raised beds inside covered solar dryers.
Irving Farm has been visiting this region since 2011, and each year sees advancements in quality and consistency which mirrors the deepening sense of community. Expect a classic, smooth cup with excellent balance.
On each trip, after cupping dozens of samples in the Monserrate Micro-lot Competition, we challenge some of the local kids to a game of football and they destroy us, every single time. But we always look forward to a rematch!