Arturo Arango has been producing coffee on the 25-hectare farm, El Paraiso in Barcelona, Quindío, since 2015. When he purchased the farm, most of the coffee trees were over 25 years old. To improve the coffee quality, Arturo started renewing every tree and planted Costa Rica and Java varieties. Along with coffee, he also cultivates other crops such as yucca and lemon.
Arturo studied Business Administration and pursued a master's degree in agroindustries in Argentina. During his time abroad, he was captivated by the Specialty Coffee scene. Upon returning to Colombia, he saw a significant opportunity to be a part of this movement and apply the best agricultural practices to produce the highest quality coffee. Arturo takes great care in his farming practices, removing all the weeds around the base of the coffee trees and ensuring disease prevention.
The first few years on his farm were spent renewing trees and improving practices. After three years, the new trees started bearing fruit, and the results were excellent, encouraging Arturo to continue revitalising the farm. Arturo values the technical assistance he receives from Cofinet and sees it as a great help in furthering his knowledge.
Arturo admires how the coffee industry has shifted from commercially minded coffee production to Specialty Coffee. He has firsthand experience of this change, as most coffee farmers he knows are now focused on quality rather than quantity.
The first few years on his farm were spent renewing trees and improving practices. After three years, the new trees started bearing fruit, and the results were excellent.
Castillo is a coffee cultivar that originated in Colombia and was developed by CENICAFE to increase productivity and resistance to diseases. It was named after Jamie Castillo, a researcher who played a key role in its development.
In the latter half of the 20th century, Caturra was the most widely grown coffee cultivar in Colombia. It became the preferred choice for farmers due to its high productivity and compact size, which allowed more plants to be grown in the same area. However, Caturra and other traditional Arabica varieties are susceptible to diseases, which is a major concern for farmers.
In 1961, CENICAFE began experimenting with Timor, a polygenic coffee cultivar with Robusta genetics. By 1968, they had developed Catimor, a high-yielding and highly resistant variety, by combining the Timor hybrid with the popular Caturra variety. After five generations of breeding and selection in the Catimor line, CENICAFE released the Colombia cultivar in 1982, which boasted high productivity, cup quality and resistance to disease. The Colombia cultivar gained popularity after a coffee leaf rust outbreak in 1983, which resulted in the decline of Caturra and other traditional varieties.
CENICAFE continued its breeding efforts and in 2002, introduced the Tabi cultivar. Later in 2005, they released the Castillo cultivar, which was claimed to have across-the-board improvements over the Colombia and Tabi cultivars in productivity, disease resistance, and cup quality. However, this claim has been disputed by some quality-focused roasters around the world. Regardless, the Federation launched a massive campaign to replace traditional cultivars with Castillo after production losses due to coffee leaf rust spiked in 2008.