"FINCA SANTUARIO COLOMBIA"
INTELLIGENTSIA COFFEE PRESENTS DIRECT TRADE F I N C A S A N T U A R I O : CO LO M B I A MICAY TASTING NOTES Almost candy-like in its sweetness, notes of licorice root and milk chocolate sustain the refined acidity throughout. A finish of tart dried fruit wraps around praline as the cup lingers. COFFEE FARM ..................Finca Santuario PRODUCER ......Camilo Merizalde LOCATION .......Cauca V A R I E T A L ......Bourbon A LT I T U D E ......1900 - 2200 m H A R V E S T ........May - July CHARACTERISTICS F L A V O R ...........Licorice root, milk chocolate A C I D I T Y ... ......Refined F I N I S H ........ .....Sweet dried fruit, nutty G EO F F ’ S N OT E S Please give a warm welcome to Finca Santuario, the newest addition to our family of Direct Trade coffees. This coffee marks the first time that we are offering two different botanic varietials from the same farm. This is a rare opportunity since it is not possible to separate most coffees in this way. Many farms are basically monocultures, with eighty percent or more of the crop coming from a single variety. On others with greater diversity, coffee varieties are usually not separated well enough in the field to allow for individual/selective harvesting. On smaller farms, even when varieties are well identified and separated, the volumes are just too tiny to be workable as individual lots. Have I gotten your attention? Good. Let me then explain to you all the other reasons that Santuario stands among the most promising farms we currently work with. Let’s start at the beginning by rewinding to the year 2000. Camilo Merizalde, born and raised in Cali, Colombia, and educated at Purdue University, decided that he wanted to build a coffee farm. This alone ought to be a startling historical fact, given that the global coffee market was already mired in the most serious and sustained depression we’ve seen this century, with prices far below even basic costs of production in most cases. When considering where to invest, coffee production would likely not even appear at all on most economists’ lists. Fortunately, Camilo did decide to build a farm, despite the long odds of success. He purchased some land in the department of Cauca, just outside of Popayan. With elevations starting at 1820 and reaching past 2000 meters, this land was ideal for growing coffee in Colombia. At the time of purchase, the land had been used for grazing cattle and was nearly barren with no vegitation but some occasional patches of grass. Intent upon getting things right from the beginning, Camilo spent the Coffee trees at Finca Satuario. FINCA SANTUARIO: COLOMBIA, MICAY next year investigating the factors critical to quality coffee production Once the farm was up and running, he built a nursery to cultivate future and sustainability. Consulting with agronomy experts from Colombia, trees, rehabilitated the wet mill (a project still underway) and began Central America, and Japan, he slowly developed a plan for his farm. planning for state-of-the-art facilities for drying. His drying plans There would be wide spacing between rows of coffee to promote good included raised African beds under translucent canopy, machines for productivity and discourage disease. He would plant a variety of finishing and homogenizing lots, and a drainage patio. leguminous and other types of trees and vegetation to provide shading, protection from winds, organic material for mulch, moisture retention, Since then he’s been working the farm meticulously, taking soil and leaf and encourage overall soil health. This biodiversity, while initially samples regularly and treating each section of the farm in accordance more expensive, is the basis for long-term sustainability on any farm. with its specific needs. Creating an environment where nature can work its magic in the form of interdependent biological systems that support plant and animal life is To say this is an impressive farm is understating the facts. This is a critical to maintaining a healthy farm environment. dream farm, built by designs based on the best information available in 2000 and maintained with the attention to detail and passion that Camilo approached the layout of the farm as a good architect would, can only come from someone truly in love with coffee. It has a long way plotting it out meter by square meter and making arrangements that to go before there will ever be a return on the investment, but this is made sense based on the existing environment. He created a map of a calculated risk. Sr. Merizalde is doing things the right way, and I am the farm that detailed every tiny parcel with precise demarcation of certain that it will be successful. all the various types of trees and shrubs planted there. He chose to plant specific varieties after studying the specialty coffee market and Not only is he already producing some world-class coffee, but he has consulting with friends. Rather than pick the high-yielding, easier also successfully reinvigorated land that had been long dormant, to grow varieties widely available in Colombia (Caturra, Catuai, creating a biologically diverse ecosystem that was not there before. His Variadad Colombia), he chose varieties known for their ability to efforts will eventually help those around him as well—there are dozens produce sensational tasting coffee seeds. Old Typica and Bourbon of small holder farms surrounding Santuario, and Camilo is committed stocks, including the original Bourbon Pointu from Reunion Island, are to helping transfer knowledge via workshops and community outreach generally less productive and more fragile than the hybrids that are and assisting growers with some of the technical aspects of quality often being planted these days, but they have a much higher ceiling management. when it comes to cup quality. He then planted them separately, keeping each lot restricted to one type so that the different varieties could be You may now feel free to applaud. easily segregated during harvest. Then he made his test garden, a gorgeous little plot with twenty-six different coffee varietals planted in neat rows for future consideration. Many research facilities around the world would be extremely jealous of this tiny garden. Among them you’ll find Mocha, Purpurecens, San Ramon, and many other interesting trees that may one day become planted in larger volume if they succeed in the cup. MARCH 2009 Geoff Watts is Intelligentsia’s Coffee Buyer. Map of Finca Santuario by coffee varietal.