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Drying Coffee

Peter Dexter

Well-known member
My friend's place is up a very steep track (only Willys Jeeps can climb it) so I park my car at a neighbor's place. Yesterday they had put out coffee to dry in the sun. The owner can sell those beans for fifty thousand pesos or about fourteen dollars.

 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
My friend's place is up a very steep track (only Willys Jeeps can climb it) so I park my car at a neighbor's place. Yesterday they had put out coffee to dry in the sun. The owner can sell those beans for fifty thousand pesos or about fourteen dollars.
Peter,

Thanks so much for this great reporting. Getting behind the layers of transfer in products is so important as we get to see the folk who devote their lives and are not heralded in any way, just invisible!

C8E22D06-884D-4C32-B53E-EADFB3BFEE25.jpeg

This shows the real human connection with our cup of coffee.

Whether it’s a bunch of women waiting for their collection of picked beans to be weighed and get the pesos the foreman decides that’s worth or this here, is very different from what we learned from coffee marketing!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
0EA27552-0B8F-47B1-AD0B-1DFC5F2833C8.jpeg

Here, the happy ambassador of coffee, “Juan Valdez”, (a purely fictitious character), with bags of coffee beans carried on a mule somewhere in in the Andes, in those vintage coffee ads decades ago!

This has been simplified to this brand logo!


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Now at could we imagine, today, the intimate connection between peasants laboring for pesos, picking and drying those beans on the market shelf!

Peter, your visit to your friend, opens our eyes to a tiny grain of the truth of the produce we take for granted!

Asher
 

Peter Dexter

Well-known member
And I'll add an odd but not altogether surprising twist. Several years ago it came out that the major coffee brands purchased by Colombians in supermarkets such as Aguila Roja and Luker actually purchased their coffee from Peru because it was cheaper...and certainly tastes that way.
 
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Peter Dexter

Well-known member
But nowadays following Juan's lead there are a plethora of niche gourmet brands for sale in the bigger supermarkets. This photo shows only the niche brands at supermarket Exito. All the regular national brands are off to the left.



Myself I like Oma Dark Roast. The brand lies between the big national brands like Aguila Roja (cheapest in every sense) and the small niche offerings.



Like Juan Valdez Oma has a chain of coffee outlets in Colombia following the model of Starbucks but the "Export" label on their packaged products refers to 5% or so,
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
So, Peter,

Are there brands which are committed to equitable labor practices?

Do peasants get to have fair rules for pay when their collections are weighed?

What about working hours and health benefits or is all that free?

Asher
 

Peter Dexter

Well-known member
Of the entities you mention the FARC (Fuerzas Armados Revolucionarios de Colombia) would be the group most interested in equitable labor practices for campesinos but except for some holdouts they were dispanded by the peace deal. In any case their purported purpose devolved into managing and profiting from narcotrafico in Colombia. If you are concerned with the environment you'd have to say in that area they had a positive effect both intentionally and as a by product of their presence. When I visited San José del Guaviare in Guaviare department I learned that prior to the peace deal they were the absolute law of the land everywhere except in the city it's self. They managed and purchased the coca and cocain production, the then principal agricultural activity and were stewards of the environment. Logging of the forests and hunting was not allowed and fish catch from the rivers was strictly regulated by them. If the rules were transgressed by a campesino he would be tied to a tree for twenty-four hours. If he continued his transgressions he was told either leave the territory or be killed. Quite effective environmental law. Now that they have been disbanded the forests are being cut down willy nilly, the trees sold for lumber and the forests turned into pasture for cattle.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Peter,

Thanks for the detailed history. So did the FARC influence just vanish from public sentiment for change?

Asher
 

Peter Dexter

Well-known member
They have a party in Colombian government but I would say yes, Being outspoken about environmental issues is quite dangerous. At the moment there is a brouhaha about an eleven year old boy having received death threats on Twitter after publishing pro environment material on social media.
 
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