Bold and clean with tangerine acidity, chocolate and plum sweetness.
Producer: Echavarria Family
Farm: Finca Veracruz, Santa Barbara Estate
Region: Amagá, Antioquia
Processing: Cold-Fermentation then washed and silo dried
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. Santa Barbara began working with the importer Mercanta in 2011 and supplies them with a variety of great coffees. The Veracruz lots come from one of the Estate’s smaller farms, composed of 16 hectares of coffee and a small mill.
Each Veracruz lot is comprised of five days’ picking. Each day, pulped beans are added to a fermentation tank with a built-in refrigeration unit that circulates water at temperature held at 18 °C, significantly below normal fermentation temperatures of 25/26 °C. By mixing the five days picking and reducing temperature, the producer is able to maintain the correct ph level and avoid very low ph levels during processing that can lead to over fermentation. In addition to giving more control over ph levels, the lower temperature also gives more control over yeast and bacteria activity. What does this mean for you the drinker ? Bold, clean and fruity.
In this cool, high climate, sun-drying for larger producers is challenging. Small producers with low volumes of coffee often employ sun drying, but larger scale producers, such as Santa Barbara Estate, must find other methods mainly due to space limitations. Santa Barbara has traditionally used silo drying as a reliable drying method. Parchment coffee is loaded into drying silos, which are then operated at around 60% of their heat capacity in order to slowly dry and better preserve the coffee. In silo drying, the temperature never reaches beyond 40-45 degrees, and the farms have always had an excellent result from the process.
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.