Colombian Los Idolos from San Augustin, Huila, has been a favourite of ours since 2007 when we first tasted it. Not to mention, it is an outstanding coffee with intense aromatics. Moreover, it was our first Fair Trade coffee, too. A certification that they have decided not to renew, as they found it unhelpful.
Colombia and Coffee
Often, Colombian coffee is just categorised by size and sold as Supermo and Excelso. To this end, coffee produced here is generally grown on large estates north of the Andes, where the country is flatter.
In the south, the Madeline River winds through the Colombian Andes. It is here the complexity of the coffee improves. In contrast to the north, farmers normally have around 3 hectares is size and family run.
If you ask coffee lovers in the know, they normally will list Colombia and Ethiopia as the country’s most variety in flavours of coffee.
History of San Agustín
Around three centuries ago, the pre-Colombian civilisation known today as “San Agustín” flourished in the mountains where the Magdalena River is born. This culture was characterised by imposing monolithic sculptures and tombs created on hilltops throughout the region.
Although the civilisation mysteriously disappeared, their burial sites being re-discovered in the 1960s by a group of explorers, led by the local inhabitants. Among the better known sites discovered was “El Alto de Los Idolos”, a group of several burial sites atop a hill dating back to the 1st century BC.
Colombian Los Idolos from San Augustin, Huila
Near to“El Alto de Los Idolos” sixty-four small coffee growers gathered under the banner of “Grupo Asociativo San Agustín Los Cauchos”, to form a coffee growers co-operative in 2001. By getting together, the growers could secure a higher income through the sale of high-quality coffee. Because of its symbolism, the name Los Idolos™ was chosen as a way of honouring the region’s ancestral origins.
Since inception their focus on standardising practices, improving their beneficios (allocations) and drying patios. As a result, small increases in quality have affected each crop. This process has spurred member’s commitment, increasing pride in each small achievement and knowing that every improvement is a step forward towards better and better coffee.
Since 2002, the members of Los Cauchos eliminated all their illicit crops. Above all, they had and committed to producing high-quality coffee instead. Thanks to Caravela’s continuous feedback about their cup quality, the members of Los Cauchos have gradually increased the quality of their coffee. Importantly, obtaining premiums between 35% and 50% above the internal market price. In fact, the increased income has helped them invest in improving their infrastructure and their quality of life.
Members of Los Cauchos are seen as a light of hope for smallholder farmers of this beautiful and once prosperous region. Now being a focal point of potential development, which is legal and sustainable over the long-term.
Video of Los Idolos contributor
When we visited, we shot this video of the one contributor’s farm:
Details of the coffee:
Colombian Los Idolos from San Agustín, Huila, is a medium acidity coffee. Add to that a delightful caramel-like sweetness, toffee and caramel flavours, with lots of orange and mandarin notes. Furthermore, the after-taste is a malty and refreshing. This means that it scores at least 85 in the cup.
|84.5-85.5 (seasonal variances, this is the min and max)
|Cost ZAR23.10 / kg.
|Producer / Organisation
|Caravela / Los Idolos™
|lot size bought
|We purchase 8x 35kg Pedura boxes 1-2 times a year.
|Our relationship with Caravela goes back to 2008.