Coocentral is a large, well-organized cooperative that buys over 10.2 million kilograms of parchment coffee from members throughout the department of Huila, Colombia. The department of Huila is located in south-central Colombia in the municipalities of: Gigante, Garzón, Agrado, Pital, Tarquí, Guadalupe, and Suaza. This area is known for producing higher-altitude coffee in a more temperate climate.
Coocentral has a strong social mandate. The co-op provides trainings and technical assistance for members, both in person and through a magazine published by the cooperative that offers market information and technical tips. Members are also eligible for subsidization of everything from higher education to funeral expenses. The cooperative manages a wide portfolio of certifications, including fair trade, Utz Kapeh, and Rainforest Alliance. Coocentral's motto is "Una gran familia al servicio del caficultor, comprometida con el desarrollo de la región," which means "A big family serving coffee producers and dedicated to the development of the region."
The family farmers that make up Coocentral are responsible for caring for the coffee from the moment it is planted on their farms, which are an average of 4.5 acres. Most of the coffee plants range from two to nine years old. Farmers prune, fertilize, and weed the coffee before the harvest. Once cherries have reached the peak of ripeness, farmers pick the coffee and de-pulp it on-site. The coffee cherry is returned to the soil as compost. The coffee is then washed, fermented, and sun-dried on each individual farm. Once the coffee parchment is dry, farmers drive the coffee to the cooperative, or the mill. The coffee is classified and milled, and packed for export via the port of Buenaventura or the port of Cartagena.
For more information on our commitment to sourcing high quality coffee, visit http://www.sustainableharvest.com/ .