Mammoth Coffee Company

La Banda Rebelde (Colombia)


 Nectarine, Raspberry Jam, Sweet & Comforting 

Origin Colombia
Region La Plata, Huila
Producers Didier Javier Pajoy, Christian Pajoy, Alberth Caldón, Daniel Sanchez
Variety Caturra & Colombia
Elevation 1,750 masl
Processing Washed


When our export partner, Shared Source, ran across Didier Pajoy working at a cooperative in Huila, Colombia, he was on the verge of giving up on coffee altogether. It’s not an uncommon story, as farmers face financial hardship, the impact of climate change and a host of other historical and emerging challenges. Shared Source asked Didier to provide a sample of parchment from his crop, which they cupped and then offered him the highest price he’d ever seen for his coffee.

They then expanded their search, reaching out to Didier’s family members and neighbors. The group grows Caturra and Colombia varietals between 1,650 and 1,950 masl in the La Plata zone in Huila. This is an area of Colombia traditionally overlooked for specialty coffee production. Dubbed La Banda Rebelde (a moniker they delight in) because they have eschewed Colombia’s Federación de Cafetera’s (the organization that promotes the production and export of Colombian coffee) focus on synthetic, chemical-intensive varieties with a focus on high crop yields. Instead, the group has prioritized ecological agriculture, the health of their soils and an investment into the future of coffee in La Plata.

One of their innovations is the creation of homemade agricultural preps used in foliar sprays, fertilizers and compost. They start with a base micro-organism population using a few kilos of virgin soil from the native oak forest, and add micro-nutrients, molasses, manure and bone ash, and allow the mixture to ferment for several months. Beyond simply “organic” farming, this approach increases microbial populations for a healthy soil. Didier has now begun to teach these preparation techniques to other small producers across Huila, allowing him to diversify and expand his income while investing in farmer-to-farmer teaching.

For Mammoth Coffee Company, our relationships with import/export companies go beyond the quality of coffee. We seek partners with transparent business practices, who invest in the communities that make specialty coffee possible. To that end, Shared Source works with La Banda Rebelde to offer interest-free loans ahead of the harvest, a critical time for financial security. They have also helped establish a fund with the group to pay pickers a premium to select the reddest coffee cherries during harvest. This cash pre-harvest is crucial. Pickers are the most expensive element in specialty coffee, and very often farmers are not able to pay pickers enough to be as highly selective as needed to pick only ripe cherries. The byproduct of subpar selection means there is no chance of processing specialty coffee. In turn, this means no price differential. This is a vicious cycle, and projects like this from Shared Source are a disruptive force that allows for positive change.

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