Origin Story: Colombia Viviana Realpe Pink Bourbon
Producer: Viviana Realpe
Region: southern Huila
Varieties: Pink Bourbon
Elevation: 1650- 1,700 masl
Wet Mill: hand de-pulper and up to 40 hour ferment in fermentation tanks
Dry Mill: Tuluá
From Shared Source:
Vivana Realpe Pink Bourbon
27-year old Viviana farms alongside her husband Pablo, occasionally with some help from their 7 year old son Juan Pablo. Her 7 hectare farm, inherited from her father, is between 1650 - 1700 masl, and she has a variety of trees: 8000 pink bourbon trees (planted 4 years ago, this lot is their first big harvest), 15000 Caturra, 5000 Variedad Colombia, and 2000 Castillo which she sells to the local cooperative.
To process, she starts with ripe cherries, and she floats them in water to remove the under and over-ripe cherries. From there, she carefully stores the cherries in a sealed Grain Pro bag, and they begin their fermentation process within the cherry. After 28 hours of this initial “cherry-ferment”, she de-pulps the coffee, and leaves it to ferment in water, constantly stirring and cleaning the water- for up to 40 hours. During peak harvest seasons, she pays a significantly higher price to pickers, which allows her to ask that they only pick ripe cherries. Friends and family from her husband’s side of the family from Nariño (with a primary harvest season in different months) also come in to help with picking. This is the second lot of her pink bourbon harvest that was large enough for us to purchase, and it was still a small lot-just 15 35 kg sacks.
Viviana and her family recently built a dryer that’s large enough to dry 1000 kg (that’s pretty big!), and they’re looking forward to larger production, thanks to increased yields because of careful pruning. She and her family are moving slowly towards organic production- they’re worried about their yields going down, which could be devastating from an economic perspective. We’ve advised her (like we do to all producers) that we encourage her transition towards organics to be slow, thoughtful and planned out. The farm is on a steep hillside, which makes bringing fertilizer, organic material, and other farm inputs to the trees a difficult task. They recently built a pulley/bridge system to bring bags from one part of the farm to another with more ease and efficiency. The family currently uses coffee processing infrastructure- like de-pulpers, fermentation tanks, and dryers- from Viviana and Pablo’s parents’ farms, but this year they’re investing in the materials and building a ceramic tile-lined fermentation tank, purchasing a de-pulper, and building a dryer on their own farm.
Viviana is a member of Los Guácharos- a group of independent, quality-focused small producers in southern Huila (close to Pitalito). The group is collectively converting to organic agriculture, making their own fertilizers and fungicides, installing complex water filtration systems that use gravity, stones and sand to remove all mucilage residues from waste water to not contaminate water systems.
Many members of the group have started the conversion to fully ecological and regenerative Shared Source exports from Colombia and Guatemala and imports into the US. We are farmgate purchasers, paying in-full directly to producers or their independent associations, upon delivery of parchment, in local currency. We pay prices that we know are socially impactful, and we are not externally financed. The Guacharos produce a brew (called Super Magro) made up of organic minerals and waste products, molasses, bone ash and manure (among other ingredients), fermented with microorganisms collected from virgin soils and used as a fertilizer and protectant from disease. The Super Magro is edible, incredibly effective, and represents a producer-driven grassroots movement empowering producers to increase soil health, reduce costs and stop dependence on chemicals.
Information and photos courtesy of Shared Source.