We first heard of ANEI through a recommendation from New Zealand's fair trade pioneers "Trade Aid". In 2014 we traveled together in Sumatra with one of Trade Aid's members, and our good friend, Justin Purser. We were looking to partner with a co-op in the northern region of Colombia and Justin emphatically recommended ANEI as a group that they had worked with for years. Later that year some of us traveled to the mountains of northern Colombia to visit them. The members of ANEI were very inviting and took us to visit several of their incredible farms. We came away very impressed and our partnership has flourished since that time.
The ANEI cooperative produces high-quality organic coffee grown in harmony with, and with respect for, Mother Earth. The cooperative consists of indigenous Arahuacos, Cogis, Güigüas, Kankuamo, as well as campesino groups among its 700+ members scattered through the southeastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Their coffee is delicious with a balanced body and acidity and notes of brown sugar, lemon, almond, and cocoa.
ANEI seeks to support indigenous cultures in the region by sustaining autonomous indigenous governance structures, supporting local “cabildos,'' and deferring leadership to local “mamos” or village elders. They also support local economies by managing community shops known as “Jwi Kakumay''. The production of organic coffee aligns with their world-view of being the elder brothers of humanity and stewards of the environment, responsible for maintaining the universe's balance. According to their philosophy, to restore balance, they must offer sacred sites. Every harvest season, they request permission from the earth to take from the earth, with a future promise to return to it.
Sweetwater is excited to work with ANEI and their coffee is now featured in our light Colombian. Check it out when you have a chance!