This coffee is grown by various smallholders of the Inga community in Aponte, descendants of the ancient, pre-hispanic Incas. During the western conquest of Colombia, they remained isolated high in the mountains which became their natural refuge. They did not resume significant contact with the rest of Colombia until the second half of the nineteenth century. In the 1990’s, the mountains were controlled by guerrilla groups, drug traffickers, and paramilitaries and the Inga’s were forcibly involved in poppy and heroin production. In the last decade the mountains have become a safe zone for the Inga tribe, illegal crops were eradicated to give way to a new culture: coffee!
The Caturra variety has been planted in the Inga territory, on smallholder properties in the Resguardo Inga Aponte, at an average of 2150 meters above sea level. This elevation, combined with the Galeras Volcano constantly shedding nutrient-rich ash, makes for an exceptionally complex and sweet coffee. Producers process coffee on their own properties, drying Honey coffee in stacked raised beds.
Aponte is situated in the Nariño department, on the border with Ecuador. The region counts thousands of smallholder coffee producing families. The three ranges of Andean mountains converge in Nariño, presenting ideal altitudes and fertile soil for high grown Arabica production. After decades of terror by armed militias and drugs traffickers, this small region has in the last years become a respected nucleus of coffee innovation in Colombia.