Since the nineteen eighties, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and other smaller paramilitary groups have afflicted and plagued the rural population of Colombia. Members of the FARC extorted, terrorized, and sometimes murdered rural coffee producers and members of their families in order to continue fueling their conflict with the Colombian government. In 2016, the Colombian government and FARC signed a peace-treaty that affectively ended years of turmoil and instability, though in small rural pockets this sort of violence still exists. During the conflict countless people were displaced due to the ongoing violence which took more than 250,000 lives.
Since the peace-treaty, many people who had been driven from their homes or forced into other means of securing income are now returning to coffee cultivation. At Utopian, we’ve made the strivings and struggles of smallholders in Colombia part of our own story by committing to help these people transition from relying on the cultivation of coca (used to create cocaine) to cultivating specialty coffee. Utopian Coffee has purchased tens of thousands of pounds of Colombian coffee from producers in these affected regions and in 2020 we are continuing this tradition. This year we purchased coffee from a specific microregion in Narino called “El Tablon de Gómez.”
Thanks to the collaborative efforts between Productive Projects Program and the Land Restoration Unit, as well as our importing friends at Atlantic Specialty, Utopian will be purchasing over 100 bags of coffee sourced from 21 families in El Tablon de Gomez. We believe this sort of commitment is what it takes to make a genuine difference in the lives of these producers. All this being said, the result of the restoration project is some of the best Colombian coffee we’ve come across. This particular dark roast features rich flavors of dark chocolate and toasted walnuts with a smooth and robust finish.