Colombia La Virgen October 23 2013


Photo courtesy of Klatch Coffee.

On December 12, 1715, Dona Francisca Salazar Valdez, daughter of a very wealthy Spanish landowner named Francisco de Salazar y Barrios y Petronilla Valdes, donated 3 hectares of their Hacienda to build a town that was to be named in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe. During most of the 18th century, the small town with a small church near the Suaza river was known as La Viciosa. A huge earthquake struck on November 16, 1827 and completely destroyed the town but caused few deaths. A year later, the town was rebuilt on nearby grounds and renamed Guadalupe to honor the Virgin that protected them from the earthquake.

Guadalupe is located in the valley of the Suaza River, about 2 hours south of Neiva, on the route to Florencia, the capital of the department of Caqueta.

The idea was to create a coffee growers association in the municipality of Guadalupe came from 4 coffee growers from the vereda La Esperanza: Javier Joven Penagos, Javier Figueroa Nunez, Fernando Guzman and Pablo Cuellar. In June 2003 these 4 gentlemen organized a meeting with some other coffee growers of the region and presented to them the idea to create a group with the objective of improving their income and their quality of life through the joint commercialization of their coffee. By offering higher volumes of coffee to exporters, they could achieve higher prices.

Throughout the years, the group has managed to develop a few programs with the objective of obtaining certifications, improving their quality of life and helping preserve the environment.

The group today has about 100 members and during 2011, they sold 400,000 kg of parchment coffees to several exporters, mainly coffee RFA and Cafe Practices. Javier Joven Penagos, one of the funding members, is the current president of the group.

La Virgen offers a wonderful representation of what Colombian coffees are all about. It has an elevated floral, perfume-like fragrance, a balanced body and acidity with flavors of citrus and cherry.

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