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 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 the previous days’ pickings. In this method of ‘extended’ fermentation, each consecutive 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. In this way, 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 also gives more control over yeast and bacteria activity.
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.