This legacy greatly inspired Pedro Echavarria (husband to one of Don Alejandro’s great grand-daughters) who ventured into growing coffee three decades ago. Mr Echavarría understood that the most important step was choosing the region where to grow his coffee. After much deliberation he ended up deciding on Santa Barbara, a small county encroached into the Andean mountains in the state of Antioquia. Other than its picturesque charm, Santa Barbara offered a land with distinctive and crucial qualities, such as microclimates (due to the combination of altitude with warm air from the Cauca river valley), singular volcanic soils, perfect altitude, and a tradition of excellence in the production of coffee. Mr Echavarria started originally with a modest amount of land, but throughout the years he has constantly increased production capacity. By marrying these perfect natural conditions with hard work and efficiency, he quickly grew both the area under cultivation and his farms’ reputation. The Echavarria family began to consolidate the various lands he had purchased over the years during the 1980s. Today, Santa Barbara Estate is composed of 5 sister farms (including Loma Verde) that lie across three neighbouring, geographical regions: Santa Barbara, Fredonia and Amagá. Loma Verde is the largest of all the farms in the estate. At 75.34 hectares, it accounts for nearly 17% of the Estate’s total production.
Colombia is the third largest coffee-producing country in the world, and thanks to its vast array of unique microclimate, are able to have harvests throughout the year.
Commercial coffee cultivation began in the mid-1830s and spread so rapidly that throughout the twentieth century coffee already became the country’s leading export. A mountainous topography and many tropical micro-climates contribute greatly to Colombia’s reputation for ideal growing conditions, which – in turn – have helped Colombia establish itself as a recognisable origin around the world.
The diversity of coffee and profiles found across Colombia is enormous and coffee is harvested practically year-round depending on the region. The main harvest takes place from October to February with November and December being the peak months. There is also a second fly (or ‘mitaca’) crop several months later, again varying by region and microclimate.