Santa Bárbara Natural, Colombia
Roast Level: Medium
Roaster's Notes: We first discovered this coffee on our 2020 trip to Antioquia in Colombia. This latest crop brings those big, fruity notes of mango, pineapple with a mouthfeel of strawberries & cream.
Producer: Echavarria Family
Altitude: 1,850 metres
Santa Barbara Estate is composed of 5 sister farms that lie across three neighbouring, geographical regions - Santa Barbara, Fredonia and Amagá. Established in the 1980s, from the beginning Sr. Pedro Echavarria knew that location was crucial. Attracted by diverse microclimates, singular volcanic soils, perfect altitude and a tradition of excellence in coffee production, he established a small farm in the high Andes of Antioquia. By marrying these perfect natural conditions with hard work and efficiency, he quickly grew both the area under cultivation and the farm’s reputation.
In the last five years, Pedro’s son – also Pedro – has become more deeply involved in the workings of the farm, taking the already high quality of the coffee to new heights through experimentation in processing and increased monitoring and control of every stage of production. Pedro Jr. and Santa Barbara’s Coffee Director, Leonardo Henao Triana, manage their wet mill with a blend of art, industrial rigor and scientific curiosity. They are committed to further developing the Estate’s capacity for the highest quality coffee possible and have even brought their offerings to Medellin, Colombia through their flagship coffee shop, Pergamino.
The wet mill in San Pascual was the location where Santa Barbara’s innovative Cold Fermentation process was developed, and about a year ago Santa Barbara’s Coffee Team began experimenting with processing small lots – specifically from the San Pascual farm, which is the hottest of the Estate’s lots - using the natural method. After being hand harvested and sorted, Santa Barbara dries these coffees for 4-5 days under shade and then finishes the coffee in experimental electric silos at 40 degrees for an additional 2 days, which provide much lower, even temperatures than normal silos and, thus, guarantee a much more homogenous drying process.
The farm’s smaller size and gentle geography lends itself to the space and time demands of such an intensive process, and although the farm currently only has enough beds to produce about 10 bags of green coffee per week, things look promising for the success of the experiment. Santa Barbara hopes to have the facilities in full production by next year and will potentially expand their facilities in the future.
Santa Bárbara Estate employs 60 people all year round, who on average earn 30% above the minimum wage. Half of these also receive free housing within the farm for themselves and their families. A further 1,200 pickers are hired during the main harvest, comprised mainly of farmers from around the Santa Bárbara Estate who pick coffee to supplement their income. Workers are generally long-term employees and have been with the company for more than 10 years.
The Santa Bárbara Estate also runs an extensive scholarship and financial aid program for worker’s children as well as helping long-standing employees to acquire their own piece of land upon retirement.