COLOMBIAN SOGROME SIERRA NEVADA
Perched in a valley about halfway up a coastal mountain range that boasts Colombia’s highest peaks is the indigenous Arhuaco community of Sogrome,(only accessible via walking or mule), a proudly self-sufficient village of 45 families that are growing some of the world’s most extraordinary artisanal coffee. Cultivated through a combination of ancient indigenous farming techniques and modern agricultural knowledge that they call “more than organic,” the coffee of Sogrome is both a specialty brew and a symbol of the ecological harmony within which it is produced. For the Arhuacos-one of Colombia’s 102 indigenous peoples-this coffee is a vehicle for the relationship they wish to establish with the world beyond the sierra.
Coffee was introduced to the sierra in the late 19th century. In Sogrome, rather than plant the shrub in high-density monocultures as is the standard practice, Tipica and Caturra varieties were added to the forest gardens and fields that produce the village’s sustenance. Amid potatoes and beans, mango and orange trees, each family keeps anywhere from two to fifty coffee bushes which grow and mature as part of a community of plants. The intercropping of species and the overall vitality of the agricultural system makes the coffee plants less vulnerable to disease, while clippings from the orchards and byproducts from coffee processing are composted to return nutrients tothe land, avoiding the need for synthetic fertilizer.
The unique conditions of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the artisanal processing that the Arhuacos have perfected conspire to make the Sogrome brew rich and smooth, with ratings in the middle to upper eighties. The coffee has a complex flavor of slight dark chocolate with a sweet note of black cherry. Beautiful, full body and a nice, smooth finish with a hint of cherry brandy. This coffee comes in 77 pound bags.