No 3

Organic Coffees, Quality and Commitment to the Environment

February, 2012

Product and Innovation

Organic Coffees, Quality and Commitment to the Environment

The coffee cherries in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and Serranía del Perijá are due for harvest during the beginning of the coffee year, between November and April. Coffee Agriculture in this northern area of Colombia is characterized by small coffee growers organized under associations and groups devoted to specialty coffee production. Get to know some of the projects that are being carried out in the zone and that bring about a high-quality coffee.

In the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Department of Magdalena, different organic coffee projects are being carried out such as the Koggee Coffee, Moka Coffee and Tima Coffee. Besides, in the Department of Cesar, other projects, most with indigenous participation, have been encouraged, such as the Arhuaco community Anei Coffee from the Yerwa reservation, as well as the Tiwen Coffee and the Koggee Coffee.

The general coffee cup profile characteristics found in this region bordering the Caribbean Sea are:

  • Aroma: Very strong
  • Acidity: Medium – Low
  • Body: Heavy
  • Taste: Pleasant cereal notes

The Orgánico Nacer, Anei, Seynekun and Kia fair trade projects have a joint supply capacity nearing 10,000 bags of green coffee harvested between November and April. These coffees have been making their way in international markets not only because of their belonging to the fair trade organic coffees segment, but also because they are produced by indigenous communities and their sensory profile with heavier body is widely accepted.


By mid 1998, and faced with both the necessity of supporting the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta preservation processes and the possibility of having ecological production as environmental services a group of leaders from La Libertad hamlet, in the Pueblo Bello municipality, decided to form. They wanted to generate additional income for their peasant and indigenous farmers, and began to seek support to gather as much information as possible to achieve international certification as either organic or ecological producers.

Supported by the GTZ and the FNC, the socialization of rules for ecological agriculture was carried out, as well as the consolidation of the Sierra Nevada Arhuaco and Peasant Organic Producers Association, which was originally made up by 32 families. Thus, despite being two different cultural groups, it was demonstrated that their interest in preserving nature and securing an added value for their coffee through a new production model united them.

The association achieved the ecologic certification for the 2000/2001 harvest –and thus began the commercialization of their coffee. The association currently comprises 40% peasants and 60% indigenous producers.

Cup profile:
This coffee is characterized by typical notes found in the fragrance and aroma, acidity low and medium - heavy body. Experts perceive an excellent beverage character and a mild bitter taste.


Indigenous coffee growers from the Orgánico Anei Flo Coffee project (in Arhuaco or Ijka language means delicious or savory coffee)  organized legally in 1998 and established the ASOANEI producers association. Their aim was to promote community development through production and commercialization of organic coffee under agricultural-ecological regulations that guaranteed social, economic and environmental balance.

Productive units are located at an altitude between 1,200 and 1,800 m.a.s.l. in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta foothills in the Department of Cesar and part of La Guajira.

The communities that are part of ASOANEI have produced coffee for many years with an emphasis. They produce mainly with the Typica variety, using pacay, carbonero and nacedero trees as natural shade.

Agricultural-ecological production techniques bring about a fragrant coffee with subtle hints of chocolate in the aroma, low acidity and a pleasantly lasting body.


The Orgánico Seynekun FLO coffee is produced by the Jewrwa indigenous community, in the western stretch of the ancestral Arhuaco territory in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Department of Cesar, Pueblo Bello municipality.

Seynekun started its organizational work in 2008 in the shape of a Foundation, with 34 indigenous producers and 35 lots- to be certified under NOP, JAS organic production regulations and CE 834 code of 1997.

Resulting from this initiative, by late 2008, the Dutch certifying company “Control Union Certifications” granted certification to 62.5 tons of organic dry parchment coffee.. Thus began its first commercial operations under the name Seynekun Organic Coffee, taken from the Arhuaco word meaning coffee of the Mother Earth.

Beginning 2009, the certification process for fair trade with the German outfit FLO CERT starts and a decision is made to change the foundation status. This is how what is now known as the Seynekun Coffee Indigenous Producers Association came to be.

Thanks to the soft breeze coming from the Caribbean Sea, the soil conditions, the weather and the altitude at which the coffee is produced, the cup takes on a light nut taste and a great character impossible to find in other Origin coffees. Furthermore, it is beneficial to consumers’ health since it does not require agrochemicals.


Kia Coffee is grown under a wide and varied natural shade in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, on a strip between 1,200 and 1,600 m.a.s.l.

For decades, peasant and immigrant farmers, devoted mainly to growing coffee in the traditional way, developed recovery and environment protection practices. In 2006, and with the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation’s support, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Agricultural-Ecological Peasant Producers Association was established in the town of Pueblo Bello, Cesar. Its only goal: to take responsibility for production and commercialization of Kia ecological coffee, as productive means, to better the associated coffee growers and their families quality of life .

The Kia Coffee brand was taken from the Arhuaco word meaning natural, authentic or national, in order to stay in close connection with their elder brothers from the Arhuaco ethnic group, from whom we have learned about love for nature and balance in the ecosystem.

Are you interested in the purchase of the coffees produced by these Associations? You can contact us at
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You are invited to learn more about our coffee family and our products, visiting the COLOMBIAN COFFEE INSIGHTS sections on the top of this page.