This coffee was grown and processed by four smallholder producers that are situated around the village of China Alta, a small community located in the municipality of Ibagué, in the state of Tolima, Colombia. The producers are Pedro Luiz, Renaldo Parra, Rosanna Cuellaar and Nubio Romero.
The farms that contributed to this lot are very small – on average just 3 hectares in size – and are located between 1800-2000m above sea level, in the steep, rugged hills that surround Tolima’s capital city, Ibagué. The region of China Alta is named for the Rio La China, a small and beautiful river that swerves through the mountains and eventually feeds into Rio Magdelena, Colombia’s principal river. The farms sit alongside the Rio La China, which is used as a water source to irrigate and process the coffee. Alta refers to the higher elevation areas of this area, where the sweetest and most refined coffees are grown and harvested.
Historically the area of China Alta has been known for cattle, sugarcane and trout, which are farmed in pools along the river. Coffee is a relatively new crop for the region, having only been planted in the last 30-40 years. Most coffee farmers purchased land in the area because it was more affordable than historical farming areas like Planadas and Chaparral, in Tolima’s south. Higher elevation areas were considered less prosperous than lower areas because they typically achieve lower yields. However, this region has since gained acclaim for the high cup quality, sweetness and complexity of the coffees produced here.