Colombian Santa Barbara
Colombia Santa Barbara
• Santa Barbara is a thirty-year-old estate established with agricultural sustainability in mind.
• The estate is integrated, meaning all stages of the production happen there, and are carefully tracked.
• The consistently warm climate, high altitude and nutrient-rich volcanic soils are ideal for growing the Castillo varietal of Arabica coffee.
• Sophisticated technology at Santa Barbara allows for ongoing research and experimentation with processing.
• Harvested cherries are allowed to ferment both before and after they are de-pulped, resulting in a sweeter flavor.
• All waste is recycled or composted and fed to the estate’s own seedling beds.
• Health, education, pension and land ownership programs are provided for Santa Barbara’s staff.
• Chemicals fertilizers are rarely used, and all coffee is shade grown.
About our Colombia:
The 860 acre Santa Barbara Estate is located in the southwest section of the Department of Antioquia. The estate was established over three decades ago by Don Pedro Echavarria, with the vision of producing and offering to the world a superior Colombian coffee. Echavarria had the benefit of generations of coffee craftsmanship and experience, continuing a coffee dynasty established in the early 20th century by his great great grandfather-in-law Don Alejandro Angel. Angel was credited with being the first great Colombian coffee exporter, and was partly responsible for the renewed reputation for quality that Colombian coffees hold today. Echavarria has used the knowledge and understanding passed down through his family to build an environmentally sustainable, integrated estate from the ground up, paying special attention to altitude, soil quality and local ecosystems when choosing the location for his farm.
When an estate is described as integrated it means that all stages of the production happen there and are carefully tracked by the farmers and workers, from producing seedlings through to harvesting and processing. Santa Barbara has expanded gradually to incorporate an industrial and logistical infrastructure to increase efficiency without compromising on quality, establishing a healthy and sustainable balance between sophisticated production and artisanal integrity. The near-constant temperature in the region (generally around 75-80 degrees F all year), high altitude (5,280 feet above sea level) and the nutrient- rich volcanic soil are ideal for growing the Castillo varietal of Arabica coffee, a flavorful hybrid of the Caturra and Timor trees, also known as Colombian 7.
The development of highly efficient technology at the estate has allowed for a number of experiments in fermentation processes. After researching potassium levels in the estate’s soils, it was discovered that potassium directly affected the development of sugars in the mucilage of a ripened bean – sugars which are key to fermentation. As a result of their investigations, the estate now allows for a period of fermentation both before and after the cherry is de-pulped, carefully monitoring PH and temperature levels in the tanks in order to better control the process, and producing a sweeter, more balanced flavor.
Santa Barbara has a stringent water management scheme and recycles all its solid waste as compost to enrich soils in its seed beds. The estate’s full-time staff are supported with education, health and pension programs, and seasonal staff are paid well above minimum wage and provided with food and accommodation. This, along with a land- ownership program and funding for local primary schools, is an example of Santa Barbara’s acknowledgement of its social responsibility in a region gravely marked by violence and poverty.