Tasting notes: Raisin | Raspberry | Almond
Farmer: José Macario Paz
Farm Name: Chaguarpamba
Region: Yacuanquer, Nariño, Colombia
Process: Fully washed, dried on raised and covered beds for 24 days
Variety: Castillo, Caturra
Elevation: 2050 meters
Don José Macario Paz has this to say about his family heritage: “Somos netamente cafeteros”, “we are strictly coffee-growers”. He remembers planting his first coffee tree when he was just eight-years-old. His maternal grandfather was a traditional coffee grower, and his mother followed in her father’s footsteps. Today, Don Macario is a coffee farmer “by inheritance”, as are most of his aunts, uncles and two of his siblings. His relatives continue to cultivate their family’s lands in the vereda of Reyes, “la vereda mas cafetera de la Union”—“the most coffee-centric township of La Union”, he states proudly.
Macario, as he prefers to be called, is 75 years-old and has a booming speaking voice. He has a full head of white hair and the energy of a much-younger man. Besides his daughter Lissy, he has a son named Cristian Javier. He studied agricultural engineering with a specialization in aquaculture. He worked at the Incora, the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, which took him all over Colombia learning about different systems of sustainable agriculture.
His two farms, La Macarena and Chaguarpamba, are only ten kilometers from the town of Yacuanquer. Each farm is planted with Caturra and Castillo varieties, which Macario has been cultivating since 2006. The soil is nutrient and mineral-rich and very soft, due to proximity to the volcano, as well as because of Macario’s practice of keeping most of the existing cover around his coffee trees intact, instead of clearing it as some farmers prefer to do. He utilizes the shade of several fruiting trees, as well as nitrogen-fixing leguminous species such as the Guamo. He doesn’t harvest the fruits of his plantain and banana trees, among others, instead preferring to feed the countless species of birds and insects that visit his finca every day. While touring a neighbor’s farm back in La Union, he came across a section of the cafetal that was lush and thriving compared to the rest of the crop. He noticed this area was benefitting from the shade of the Guayaco tree (known in English as the Tree of Life). His neighbour told him that those coffee trees were around 30 years-old and the most productive on his land. Macario immediately asked if he could buy some seed or seedlings of the Guayaco to plant back at La Macarena. Today the Guayacos are thriving and contributing to the specialized system of responsible agriculture Don Macario has been developing for over a decade.
Director of Coffee at Transcend Coffee