We arrived in Popayán, known as “the White City” on January 9th. It is calm, cozy, and cosseted community and we found out within a matter of about 45 minutes that it would be hard to get lost here.
For our first day of research in Colombia, our team met up with our stakeholder, the FCC (Federación Campesino del Cauca) in Popayán. During our meeting, we briefed the FCC on previous SMART projects, presented slides about our goals for our SMART project, and opened discussion with the FCC to review any doubts and set expectations for this year’s project. After an open discussion we decided on a schedule, set up plans for the week, and finally moved on to coffee tasting!
We were taking to their cupping laboratory where we were shown different machines and stations that coffee beans go to on their way to being prepared for cupping analysis. This process included pulping, drying, roasting, and grinding beans, as well as the process of cupping. It was very nuanced: coffee is ranked on a scale from 0-100 based on a set of well-defined criteria. Indeed, the highest rating yet has been a 88 points! We enjoyed the taste testing and learning more about the coffee making process.