Dionicio Gómez has two fincas in the municipality of Chachagüí, in the vereda (or township) of Casabuy, in the southwestern department of Nariño, where he cultivates five varieties of coffee. Separated by a dirt road and then a trail that takes 30 minutes to walk, Finca El Guayabo is the higher lot and Finca La Cocha, the lower lot. The latter is located on the banks of the Rio Bermudez. Don Dionicio lives at La Cocha—cocha being the Quechua word for “body of water”—where he has planted Castillo, Caturra, Colombia, Typica and Maragogype. At 1,900 m.a.s.l, sits El Guayabo, where Dionicio has 2,500 Castillo trees. When the harvest gets going, the cherries are brought down from El Guayabo, post-selection, on horseback. Don Dionicio takes pride in his work. During our last visit, he told us he had never had a coffee rejected by the local CafeOccidente cooperative, our ally and partner, whose offices, and SCA- certified cupping laboratory, are located in the departmental capital of Pasto—approximately a 40-minute drive from Chachagüí.
When asked about his post-collection processing—known in Colombia as el beneficio—Dionicio responded by informing us that “toco inventarlo”—he had to invent it, using trial and error. After his seven pickers—whom he hires back every year for their expertise in careful, hand-selection of the coffee cherries—bring in the days harvest, the cherries are de-pulped, and fermented in the traditional manner for a period of 18 hours. The beans are then thoroughly washed, and put out to dry on raised beds for six days. The resulting coffee has notes of dark chocolate, coconut brittle, and lemon.
We are grateful to be able to work with producing partners such as Don Dionicio Gómez not only because of his hard work and determination, but also because of his proud, innovative spirit.