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Colombia - Delagua Coffee Paradise.



 The Sierra Madre de Santa Marta is an imposing mountain range in the very northern part of Colombia. Though close in proximity to the Caribbean coast, the highest snow capped peak, Pico Cristobal Colon, is estimated to reach around 18,700 feet. Not only does this make it the tallest mountain in Colombia, but its prominence is 5th highest in the world. This area is extremely remote and very difficult to access because of the dramatic landscapes and intense biodiversity of its tropical forests. All of these factors contribute to the mystery and allure of coffee sourcing in this area and it is almost impossible to find coffee from this region anywhere in the United States.

And yet, despite the difficulties of producing coffee and transporting it off of the mountain, Edwin Martinez has dedicated himself to this craft on the projects farm, Delagua. He, his wife and their 6 children began farming on the 20 hectares of land (~50 acres) 5 years ago after he began working in coffee farms 16 years ago. 

In remote places like this, it is very common for farmers to utilize organic farming practices out of necessity: there are no chemical fertilizer or pesticide distribution companies able to reach them. Farmers like Edwin must resort to using composting methods and natural pest control methods like using different plant species to battle against coffee’s insect predators. 

Delagua embraces preserving water in the area. This is why the project only uses Natural or Honey processing on his mill, which does not use any water. Conversely, washed coffee tends to use a lot of water and the water waste can pollute local water supplies or cause erosion concerns. Delagua’s drying facility also works with other local farmers to support their farming practices through processing and milling while also purchasing their high quality coffee.