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The Kogi

The lost tribe trying to save the world

Growing coffee is not about clearing the bush and felling trees. Coffee should grow among other species in the forest while relating to other plants and food sources
— Arregocés Coronado, Kogi leader

The Jaguar people

From their home in the mountains, the Kogi people have lived in relative isolation from the rest of the world since before the Spanish arrived in Colombia. Guided by a belief system that compels them to look after the earth, they have over the centuries developed a close symbiotic relationship with their environment. Today around 20,000 of them live in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta where they continue to exercise their ancestral culture and sustainable agricultural practices. 

The Kogi or Kagaba, which translates as 'jaguar'see themselves as the elder brothers of humanity and the Sierra Nevada as the heart of the world. 

After seeing their sacred habitats threatened by creeping development and mining interests, the Kogi have started to reach out to the ‘younger brothers’ in the outside world with an urgent message of environmental responsibility. 

Messenger coffee

As part of this effort, they have started to export their unique coffee to the world in the hope that the it will raise awareness of their culture and the urgent need for all humanity to live more sustainably. 

The Kogi use ancestral practices to foster a wild coffee that may be one of the most sustainable in the world. Trees grow feely among the natural tropical rainforest with elders, known as Mamos, doing spiritual ceremonial work to guide every step of the process.

The production of Kogi coffee is guided by four major principles: 

  1. Spiritual communication with Mother Earth and the ancestral fathers through ceremonial work 
  2. The conservation of their natural resources
  3. The exclusive use of seeds found in the Sierra Nevada and the refusal to introduce new varietals
  4. The self management of production by the Kogi themselves