The Mayor of Cartagena is Erez Coffee’s rendition of Colombian coffee. Behind Brazil, Colombia is the world’s second largest exporter of coffee. The Andes Mountains, which cross the country, make Colombia’s ground fertile and ideal for coffee growth. It is not known exactly when the coffee bean first arrived in Colombia, though it is thought to have been brought by Jesuit priests in the 17th century. It was not until the mid-19th century however that it became an important export. Coffee farms were owned by societal elites who dominated the country’s coffee exports and who formed an alliance with political elites, to ensure coffee export revenues remained in the hands of the few.
The 1930s saw significant land reforms and farming monopolies were broken up and distributed among farmers. These reforms made significant progress in relieving the country’s substantial land inequality but did not alleviate them. By the 1980s, only 10% of the country’s farms controlled 80% of the coffee supply. In the last 30 years, there has been a growing movement away from large-scale coffee plantations to smaller coffee fincas, or estates. These fincas are small plots of land planted with coffee and managed by local families and communities. These fincas come together often to form cooperatives, thereby guaranteeing better protection from larger farms. The National Federation of Coffee Growers (the FNC) is Colombia’s largest coffee cooperative and represents a large portion of the nation’s coffee producers.
Colombia’s coffees are considered mild and well-balanced. This balance is attributed to Colombia’s climate; warm temperature, good amount of rainfall, exposure to the sun and excellent soil. These unique conditions contribute to one of the many coffee miracles of Colombia: it is one of the only countries in the world which produces 100% arabica beans. The superiority of the arabica combined with Colombia’s superior geographic and climate conditions make the Colombian coffee bean the envy of the coffee world. Each and every bean is picked by hand--a striking anomaly in today’s increasingly automated world!
Erez Coffee pays homage to this country’s outstanding contributions to the coffee world with the Mayor of Cartagena.