Since 2012, Counter Culture has been working withcoffee farmers inNariño, Colombia to build new supply chainsthat pay higher prices for higher-quality coffees. The model and the approach of working together in associations has strengthened communities, provided more transparency, and encouraged quality. The ASPROCAES association produces their Urcunina offering which features notes of chocolate, caramel, and dried fruit.
Caturra, Castillo, Colombia
Through early-March 2022
Counter Culture was first introduced to farmers in Nariño in 2012 through the Borderlands project initiated by Catholic Relief Services. Before the project, most producers sold their coffee for minimal premiums to two exporters working on behalf of two large buyers. Through the project, producers banded together in associations to sell their coffees to roasters and exporters, creating a new business model of quality-differentiated coffee previously unseen in Nariño.
Over the years, Counter Culture has provided feedback to the farmers on their coffees, committed to purchasing different quality tiered lots from communities around the region, and supported community-driven sustainability projects. Urcunina is from ASPROCAES, an association working in the place we fell in love with Nariño coffee—La Florida.
ASPROCAES was founded in 2012 with 86 members and is currently comprised of 134 members. In 2017, the government of Nariño helped fund a central washing station––only the second of its kind in the region––and, recognizing the group’s strength as an organization, asked that it be managed by the association. At the same location, ASPROCAES has invested in over 500 square meters of raised bed drying systems and, with the help of a Counter Culture Seeds fund, planted and maintain a nursery of coffee and shade trees for farm renovations. Members along with many non-member farmers deliver cherry to the station, freeing up the time normally spent on post-harvest processing to be able to focus on diversifying their farms and incomes.