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.
Santa Barbara began working with Mercanta in 2011. In addition to supplying us with various astounding coffees, Pedro and Leo have developed specifically for Mercanta this ‘La Joyería’ microlot.
La Joyeria truly is ‘the jewel’ of the Estate. These lots are grown at an average altitude of 1700 meters and are 100% Colombia variety. Each lot is composed of two days worth of picking; the coffee picked on the second day is added to the first after 24 hours fermentation and then left to ferment in the tanks for a further 24 hours. In this method of fermentation, the second batch raises the ph level of the fermentation tank, permitting longer fermentation times without the acetic acid produced by bacteria at a lower ph level. Interestingly, the inspiration for the process was taken from small farmers throughout Antioquia and Huila, who often have two or three day fermentation as their farms are so small that one day’s picking is often not sufficient to make up an entire lot. Pedro and Leo have worked to perfect the process and adapt it for larger-scale production, which has resulted in a distinctive, even and controlled fruit-forward cup.
La Joyería is named for and processed at the main mill on the Santa Bárbara farm. The mill can process up to 7,000 bags of coffee; however, La Joyería makes up a very small percentage of this volume. It is also stored and milled separately from the volume production. 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