Precooperativa Flor Blanca is an organization that is made of 12 subgroups throughout Huila with the mission to support small-holder coffee and cacao producers by leveraging their collective size to gain access to international markets. Flor Blanca and it’s subgroups work through the National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC) and their Mujeres del Huila program to identify and organize groups of women producers and award a premium to those groups for coffees that may otherwise end up in larger blends. Flor Blanca represents over 1,500 women from over 30 coffee-producing municipalities throughout the department. Founded in 2018, Flor Blanca also uses its collective bargaining power to purchase fertilizers at affordable prices on behalf of its members and has a separate organic composting facility to provide free or at-costs fertilizers for women-producers actively participating in the Mujeres del Huila program.
Ethyl acetate is an occurring ester (present in bananas and also as a by-product of fermented sugars) that is used as a solvent to bond with and remove caffeine from green coffee. First, the coffee is sorted and steamed for 30 minutes under low pressure in order to open the coffee seeds’ pores and prepare them for decaffeination. The coffee is placed in a solution of both water and ethyl acetate, where the E.A. will begin to bond with the salts of chlorogenic acids inside the seeds. The tank will be drained and re-filled over the course of eight hours until caffeine is no longer detected. The seeds are steamed once more to remove the ethyl acetate traces, though E.A. is only harmful to humans in very high quantities (400 parts per million or more). The coffee is then dried and polished for export.
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