Before they are sent to our cupping lab for approval, the coffees are screened in Colombia by our exporters, Virmax Café. Virmax receives samples from producers, performs physical and sensory analyses, and assigns an overall score to the coffee. If a coffee achieves a high enough score, it is forwarded to us for approval. We, then, choose which coffees we want to blend together, or keep separate for an individual microlot.
The process is straightforward, but the work is intensive. To give an idea of the type of quality screening that we did for these coffee blends, here are some specs:
- Las Mingas Cauca is from 17 different smallholder producers, totals just about 2,500 lbs, and the approved lot sizes are as small as 14 lbs and large as 700 lbs.
- Las Mingas Huila is from 16 different smallholder producers, totals just about 5,000 lbs, and the approved lots sizes range from 46 lbs to over 1500 lbs.
More about Regions
As stated above, the Las Mingas Cauca is from the Department of Cauca, and the Las Mingas Huila is from the Department of Huila. You can think of Departments as individual States. Colombia has 32 Departments and 1 District Capital. Cauca is located to the west, and borders the Pacific Ocean, while Huila is located just to the east of Cauca.
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The coffee growing regions of the two departments are contained on and within the Cordillera mountain ranges. The western range, Cordilerra Occidental, divides Cauca down the middle, separating the internal growing region from the Pacific Ocean. The eastern range, Cordilerra Oriental, is situated in Huila. Although Cauca and Huila share a common border, they are further separated by the Cordillera Central.
What makes Colombia so unique as a coffee producing country is that the range of climates from within its borders is as differentiated as the climate range from Mexico to Panama. In no small way do the Cordilerras contribute to this distinction. These topographical separations lend to slight variation in growing conditions, and, ultimately, distinction in the cup.
There is a lot of effort that goes into making quality coffee arrive on you counter. We hope that you find these coffees as brilliant as we do.