Colombia | Level Ground Trading

By: Level Ground  09-12-2011
Keywords: Coffee, colombian coffee, Ground Trading

Meet Jaime Vargas.  Jaime is a Colombian coffee farmer who lives in the fertile mountains near Jardin,  in the Province of Antioquia, Colombia.  Jaime grows coffee, yuca (cassava), vegetables and many fruit trees.  Jaime’s farming practices are by all standards organic except he is not certified because his farm is too small and he alone cannot afford the certification fees.  Not many farmers around him farm organically making difficult to consolidate a crop that can be sold as organic certified.  With the financial support of Famicafe, Jaime installed a biodigester which supplies 6 hours of methane gas per day for cooking.
The pictures below show the biodigester.

Jaime has been part of the “Programa San Miguel” coffee program at the Coffee farmers’ Cooperative of Andes.  His coffee is purchased under a special arrangement between Level Ground Trading and the co-op in which farmers are paid cash up front for their parchment coffee at the co-op’s weighing station.  A sample is taken for cupping.  If the cup is clean it receives a high score by the cupping lab and Jaime receives an additional payment as a direct fair trade premium when he comes two weeks later with another sack of coffee beans to sell.  The coffee is then kept separate for milling with other coffees from farmers like Jaime.  In this way, Level Ground not only has direct traceability to small-scale farmers in Colombia, but the coffee quality is guaranteed at the point of purchase.


Meet Jaime Marin.  We have known Jaime for many years.  In fact, last year, his daughter Johana was sponsored by Level Ground to come to Canada to learn English on a six month intensive ESL program.  Able to speak fluent English, a student in Colombia like Johana has greater access to better jobs after graduation.

Jaime Marin, like Jaime Vargas the farmer that appears in our package of Colombia Light Roast coffee, lives near Jardin, Colombia.  Jaime produces four different types of organic fertilizer in his farm.  He grows coffee, fruits like lulo, a popular fruit among urban Colombians, and he boards horses.  His coffee plot is 2,000 meter above sea level which makes his coffee a favourite among specialty coffee drinkers because at that elevation the coffee ‘cherries’ ripen very slowly thereby concentrating all the flavour and aroma in the beans.  Jaime Marin’s coffee also earns direct fair trade premiums through the “Programa San Miguel” and his coffee is shipped to Level Ground directly.

Meet Ever Antonio.  Ever Antonio is a coffee farmer near the town of Betania on the mountains near Andes, Colombia.  He is part of the “Programa San Miguel”, a joint project between the Coffee farmers’ Cooperative of Andes and Level Ground Trading.  This program ensures that farmers are paid cash up front for their parchment coffee at the co-op’s weighing station.  A sample is taken for cupping.  If the cup is clean it receives a high score by the cupping lab and Ever Antonio receives an additional payment as a direct fair trade premium when he comes two weeks later with another sack of coffee beans to sell at the co-op.  The coffee is then kept separate for milling with other coffees from other farmers in the program.  In this way, Level Ground not only has direct traceability to small-scale farmers in Colombia, but the coffee quality is guaranteed at the point of purchase.


Meet Chepe.  We have known Chepe and his wife Nelly for many years.  Their daughter Silvia is a recipient of a Famicafe scholarship funded by Level Ground’s direct fair trade premiums.  Their son Jose works on the family farm.  They grow coffee, plantains, yuca, fruits and vegetables.  They keep pigs, ducks and chickens.  Their farm sits on a ridge overlooking the San Juan River valley and mountains.  From their front porch, on a clear morning, Chepe and his wife can see the mountains that separate Antioquia province form the Choco rainforest and the Pacific Ocean beyond.  Chepe has been featured on other Level Ground packaging and in our website.

Our Decaffeinated Colombian coffee is a process done on fresh green beans from Chepe and other members of the Andes coffee co-op.  The process is called Natural Water Decaf and it uses ethyl acetate derived from sugar cane.  It is considered a gentle process which leaves the beans flavourful but without the caffeine.  Like Jaime Marin, Jaime Vargas and Ever Antonio, Chepe is part of the ‘Programa San Miguel’ which earns him direct fair trade premiums for his coffee.

Decaf Colombia is decaffeinated in Colombia by DESCAFECOL. The plant is located in Manizales, in the heart of the coffee growing region. It is a process done to fresh green coffee beans which are then shipped to us directly.

DESCAFECOL Decaffeination: A Gentle and Natural Process

Nature and modern technology work hand-in-hand at DESCAFECOL. They use only the most natural agents to decaffeinate coffee beans: crystal clear mountain water and ethyl acetate (EA). EA is obtained from natural sources like sugar cane molasses. EA can be found in many natural products including: fruits, vegetables, and regular coffee. EA’s consumption is free of any health risk and is FDA approved in "e United States and Europe as a decaffeinating agent and food additive without any restrictions.

DESCAFECOL uses a special combination of pure water and EA which allows for a gentle caffeine extraction from the coffee bean. Other decaffeination processes demand the use of excessive heat and pressure which destroy the molecular structure of the green coffee bean. Decaffeinated coffee, processed by the Water-EA method, is excellent for roasting. Perfect aroma and taste are guaranteed in every cup.

More Than Just a Flavorful Coffee

The Water-EA method of decaffeination gives consumers twice its value. Not only does it offer a coffee that is flavorful, but it provides an ideal alternative for people with heart conditions and those who want to avoid the effects of caffeine. In addition to removing caffeine, the Water-EA method also removes irritating substances, a benefit those with sensitive stomachs will welcome.

Our mission is to trade fairly and directly with small-scale producers in developing countries, offering our customers ethical choices.

Keywords: Coffee, colombian coffee, Ground Trading