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40 years ago, in the rural regions of Huila, Colombia, coffee growers had a problem.

When you think of difficult driving you might think closures on the M4, or meeting a double decker on a windy Devon lane, or the potholes and worn tarmac of your local high street. But that’s nothing compared to driving trucks full of coffee down the steep, twisting, rock-filled (practically off-road) tracks of Acevedo.

So 8 local coffee farmers decided to put their heads together and tackle the problem - founding the San Isidro Grower’s Association! With just 16,000 pesos between them - the equivalent of £3 back then - there was a long way for them to go.

What are the benefits of working together?

  • Access to the market: Together, it was easier to access the market - being able to transport lots of coffee down to the buying stations themselves. It also meant they could bundle their lots together for sale, making it easier to shift.
  • Buying in bulk: By buying farming products in bulk - like fertiliser, and other practical equipment - they could negotiate a much better price. Which means big savings for all farms involved! And as the cooperative grew, these got even bigger!
  • Creating a brand: By creating a group, they also created a brand - and by improving the quality of the coffee produced by all member farmers, and self-promoting, a farm now has value added to its coffee just by being part of the group.

Growth and success

From 8 farmers and just £3 in the bank, the San Isidro group is now 85 strong! And those 85 farms collectively have the potential production of 2 million kilos or 2000 70kg bags of parchment (that’s the dried green coffee) per year! And that, we don’t have to point out, is a lot of beans.

Not only that, the brand has seriously flourished. They’ve got tablecloths. They’ve got doormats. They’ve even got branded water bottles! And now their coffee is known both locally and internationally - they’ve even got their own café in a local mall, and plans for another!

Celebrate with them, by raising a cup of El Paraiso

40 years in, there’s a lot of reasons to celebrate. The San Isidro group is going from strength to strength, and featuring often on our coffee menu. So why not join them in their jubilations by trying El Paraiso - currently on the menu, and from a member of the group itself!

With delicious notes of orange syrup and dark chocolate, with a medium-dark roast, Orlando Babativa has grown a winner here. You can buy the coffee and read more about Orlando here - or, if you’re on a Select plan, switch your next order to El Paraiso for a Colombian cup you’ll fall in love with.