If the mountains, the rivers and valleys of Planadas could speak, they would reveal the origins of the people who migrated to these lands to grow coffee. First, they’d tell of how, decades ago, the indigenous Paez people, originally from the neighboring department of Cauca, walked over and along Andean ridgelines, crossing the Nevado del Huila volcano on foot, with the hope of one day settling on fertile and peaceful lands. They’d recall the more recent violent times, the years of civil unrest and armed conflict, during which hordes of families from the historically coffee-producing departments of Quindío and Antioquia, found refuge in and around the municipality of Planadas, in the corregimiento of Gaitania, and continued doing what they knew best, which was grow coffee.
This blend comes from 50 smallholder producing partners from the Asociación De Caficultores Indígenas De San Pedro Resguardo Páez De Gaitania Tolima – ASCI’SP. The Nasa live on and cultivate the 4,900 certified-organic hectares of the San Pedro refuge or reservation, located a few kilometers up winding dirt roads from the town of Gaitania. Of the approximately 3,900 inhabitants, 79 families are members of ASCI’SP. They speak the Nasa language, as well as Spanish, and grow coffee in an artisanal, completely organic manner, that upholds their community’s commitment to sustainable, responsible agriculture. The Nasa are stewards of their hard-fought-for lands. A large part of the refuge lies within the boundaries of the Nevado de Huila National park, an important source of hydrological energy for Colombia. In 1996, the Nasa we’sh became the first and only community to sign a peace treaty with the FARC. Today, a de-militarized FARC camp can be seen from certain vantage points within the Nasa reservation, across the valleys of the River Atá. They too are now growing coffee.
This is the third time we have featured a coffee from this world-renowned origin in our cafés and it is a pleasure to be able to share this organic blend with our Colombian clientele. The cup has notes of panela (unrefined cane sugar, a staple in every Colombian pantry), cherries and pineapple juice.