Mr. Pablo Guerrero was the first to introduce coffee to the Tangua area outside of the city of Pasto in the year 2000. The town used to be a wheat and bean production area, but, as business started to falter, Mr. Guerrero saw an opportunity to explore with coffee. It was risky because he was unsure how productive coffee would be at such a high elevation, but coffee flourished and now others are following in his footsteps.
Pablo Guerrero’s farm Hacienda El Obraje is one of the most stunning properties in the mountains of the Nariño department. Originally the hundred-hectare farm was an apple orchard, and the transition to coffee has been challenging yet rewarding. Mr. Guerrero’s background in architecture leads him to approach coffee from both passionate and pragmatic angles, applying planting and processing strategies designed for long-term farm health.
El Obraje is equipped with a small but extremely tidy wet mill on the property. Coffee processing begins as soon as the cherries are harvested. This lot of Washed Caturra was de-pulped, fermented for 16 hours in tile tanks, fully washed, and dried on the raised beds of the solar dryer.
The Inga community of Aponte is comprised of descendants of the ancient, pre-Hispanic Incas. During the period of conquest, they remained isolated high in the mountains which became their natural refuge. This community did not resume significant contact with the rest of Colombia until the second half of the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, in the 1990’s, contact was mostly criminal, and the Inga’s refuge became a place of cruelty. For years the tribe was forcibly involved in poppy and heroin production under the influence of guerrilla groups, drug traffickers, and paramilitaries. The once-peaceful mountains teemed with illegal plantations and violence, in which the Ingas were trapped until as recently as ten years ago.
In the last decade, the mountains have become a safe zone for the Inga tribe, and illegal crops were eradicated to give way to a new culture: coffee! The Caturra variety has been planted in the Inga territory, on smallholder properties in the Resguardo Inga Aponte, at an average of 2150 meters above sea level. This elevation, combined with the Galeras Volcano constantly shedding nutrient-rich ash, makes for an exceptionally complex and sweet coffee.
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