Vail Mtn Coffee & Tea Co. & The Colombian ASPRASAR Project

Improving Quality: ASPRASAR Colombia Project

Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Co. and the coffee growers of Tolima's ASPRASAR association have come to completion on upgrades made to their facility in Colombia. In the past few years the association has made upgrades with the help of donations from VMCT and contributions from the association itself. The growers have dedicated their lives to growing coffee in the same tradition as generations before them. Now, with the help of Vail Mtn Coffee & Tea Co. and their surrounding community, the growers have been able to improve their operation for coffee production and the equipment needed to work. Read below to find out in detail how those efforts have made a positive impact to their community.


Created in 2016, ASPRASAR is an association formed by 137 coffee farming families. The goal of the association is to improve the quality of productivity and access to markets of their coffee. 


Located within the municipalities of Planadas and Rio Blanco in South Tolima. This region is hard to reach due to its remote and treacherous geography. 

The Problem

  • Common electrical shortages
  • Interruption to milling process
  • Optimal quality not achieved
  • Prices and cup quality affected

The Solution

Provide the community with gasoline and electric generators that can run for 4 hours and can power the machinery needed for coffee milling. 

Train the coffee famers in the adequate use of milling equipment, generator maintenance, and the influence of correct milling in the quality of the coffee. 

Additionally, it was decided to plant 100 trees to help offset the emissions of the generators.

Results & Training

March 3-4 included training sessions where 77 members of the association attended. A large female contingent was also there. A noticeable change from years past where it was typically only men that were included in training sessions. Attendance would have been higher had it not been for extremely heavy rainfall. 

Training Sessions were on the following subjects:

  • Correct coffee picking 
  • Maximum time to process coffee after picking
  • Fermentation 
  • Wet mill and coffee drying

Members of the association were trained on how to use generators correctly and received the following information:

  • Components of generator
  • Importance of warranty and how it applies
  • Correct use of generator
  • Maximum power for generators
  • Contacts for questions

Results- Tree Species & Planting 

Seven different tree species were selected for the specific region:

  • Cambulo (Erythrina Poeppigiana)
  • Cedro (Cedrela Montana)
  • Nogal (Cordia alliodora)
  • Vara Blanca (Casearia Corymbosa)
  • Guayacan Amarillo (Handoroanthus Chrysanthus)
  • Arenillo (Tetrorchidium Ruberivenium)
  • Tuno (Miconia Squamulosa)

Tree Planting 

The community selected to grow 100 Nogal trees because of the following benefits:

  • Add shade without affecting production
  • Adds organic matter protecting soil and avoiding erosion
  • Improves circulation of nutrients
  • Regulates temperature in the farms improving productions

Overall Impact 

  • 8 families directly benefited with generators
  • 77 coffee farmers receiving training
  • 2 technical assistants following up on use and training
  • 10 technical and logistics teams that carried out all the activities
  • 100 Nogal trees planted

Final Budget

  • Gasoline Electric Generators | Investment from VMCT $3,540
  • Training Sessions (two days food, materials and trainers) | Investment from VMCT $550
  • Travel Expenses | Contribution from ASPRASAR $50
  • Logistics and coordination | Investment from VMCT $154, Contribution from ASPRASAR $100
  • Nogal trees | Contribution from ASPRASAR $200
  • Delivery Expenses | Contribution from ASPRASAR $250

Grand Total Investment from Vail Mtn Coffee & Tea Co. $4,244

Grand Total Contribution from ASPRASAR $600


  • The community is highly organized and took great interest in the project
  • The funds impacted more than 80 people
  • The indications provided by the team at Vail Mtn Coffee & Tea Co. allowed more precise and useful visual content creation.
  • There are many possibilities to continue working in the region of Tolima

Fuel Your Adventure® from Vail Mtn Coffee & Tea Co.!

Written by Jen Biro