Gildardo Martinez and his family live in the Municipality of Tablón de Gomez. However, their true identity lies with the indigenous community of which they are part, which is the Inga. They are located in the towns of Aponte and Paramo, deep in the Juanambú canyon. This group belonged to the northernmost part of the Inca Empire, who colonized the south of Colombia in the late XIV century, a bit before the Spanish came. Land here is communal and its population is ruled by a “cabildo”, a group of elders that make sure that their ancestral laws and traditions are upheld.
In true rebel form, Gildardo has processed this small lot using the honey method. This is quite unusual in Colombia, where coffee is usually pulped, fermented and washed after it’s picked. In this case, the coffee was pulped and then dried before being washed. The intense fermentation process that occurs when coffee is dried without removing the mucilage leads to a cup profile of intense red fruit. Honey processed coffees are complicated to elaborate, as they are susceptible to defects if not dried in perfect conditions. Luckily, weather in the Aponte area is perfect for this type of drying, as the heavy and cold winds that cross the canyon permit a slow and even drying process. Coffee is dried in raised beds in a covered greenhouse and is raked regularly. To reach optimal humidity, it usually takes between 20 to 40 drying days. This slow, consistent process leads to incredibly complex cup.