The Asociación de Productores de Café del Oriente Caucano (or, more accessibly, ASORCAFE) is composed of 52 smallholder coffee producer members, and represents, in total, over 450 producers within the department of Cauca. Their leadership, along with the organization's lab and main warehouse, are based in the town of Pedregal. Here, their operation of purchasing parchment coffee from neighboring producers in and around the municipality is the model upon which their satellites are built in other towns throughout the department.
One such town, "just down the road" from Pedregal (or about three hours, as those roads go) is San Antonio. A charming little hamlet situated in a deep valley, where the livelihood of coffee production is clear from every vantage. Mules and donkeys laden with cargas of parchment, drying beds installed on roofs, in attics, in every corner of available flat space, and not least of all, the dramatically rising mountain slopes covered in coffee trees.
Alfonso Pillimué and his wife Maria Rosa Oidor make their home within the city, and are also the representatives of ASORCAFE for the town. They maintain the bogeda (the coffee warehouse) and also run a tienda, or shop, selling both sundries and agricultural supplies. For the association, they are in charge of receiving, grading, storing, organizing and isolating potential microlots from their neighbors -- who, in this town, are mostly their extended families!
Since our first visit to the town in 2016, we have been buying these coffees to serve as the citric, caramel base of Bedford. Over the years, as we've cupped individual lots to build the homogenized municipal blend we call "San Antonio", I've encountered dozens of different "Pillimués" and "Oidors": siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins of Alfonso and Maria Rosa -- all producing, on their individual land and farms, awesome coffees.
This release is a combination of two lots. Alfonso's own farm El Porvenir and that of his cousin, Anibal Pillimué, on the farm she and her husband run together: La Esperanza.