PROFILE AND PARTNERSHIP
CHOCOLATE, GRAPE, TOFFEE
Omni Roast / Medium
The 2022 fresh crop of our directly sourced Colombian Finca Las Cruces (Farm of the Crosses). You might say that Esnayder Cuartas from Sabor Coffee has one foot in Colombia and one foot in the UK: the family farm, Finca La Cruces is situated in the Paisa region of Colombia but Esnayder currently resides in London and has been helping us out in the roastery. Some of you may have even met Esnayder at our Courtyard Coffee Festival last year!
This delicious coffee has a sweet and refreshing chocolate, grape and toffee flavour profile. We've given it an omni roast meaning it's perfectly suited to both espresso and filter brew methods.
To give a little more context about why we're so excited about this new partnership, we sat down with Esnayder and discussed all things coffee farming - the challenges facing producers in his region, his dual lives in London and Colombia, and his plans for the future of Finca Las Cruces.
If you want to learn more about the relationship between farmer and roaster, this blog and interview is well worth a read.
We think all of our coffees taste great no matter how you prepare them, but here are our favourite brew methods for this coffee:
ABOUT FINCA LAS CRUCES
Finca Las Cruces, a family farm, is located just outside the small town of Quinchia. Quinchia sits in the heart of the coffee triangle area of Colombia (zona cafetera), within the department of Risaralda. The Cuartas-Alvarez family have farmed this land, passing it from generation to generation, for more than 70 years. Esnayder took over the farm in 2005, just before his father passed away.
This small farm comprises 10 hectares, of which only 7.5 hectares are used to cultivate coffee, plantain and other tropical fruits. The remainder of the land is maintained as a natural reserve for water conservation. With plenty of spring water in the estate, one of Sabor's responsibilities is to not only maintain the water flow but to also improve water quality. Dedicating the same amount of land to the coffee as to the native forest helps preserve the natural characteristics of the area.
Sustainability is at the forefront of Finca Las Cruces. See Finca Las Cruce's Sustainability Report and Traceability Report for further details on the farm's organic farming practices and the journey of this coffee from harvest to our roastery.
HISTORY OF COFFEE IN COLOMBIA
HISTORY OF COFFEE IN COLOMBIA
Coffee came to Colombia in the late 1700s by way of Jesuit priests who were among the Spanish colonists, and the first plantings were in the north of the country, in the Santander and Boyaca departments. Throughout the 19th century, coffee plants spread through the country, with a smaller average farm size than more commonly found throughout other Latin American producing countries.
Commercial production and export of coffee started in the first decade of the 1800s, but remained somewhat limited until the 20th century: The 1927 establishment of the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia (aka FNC, see below) was a tremendous boost to the national coffee industry, and Colombia quickly established itself as a major coffee-growing region, vying with Brazil and Vietnam for the title of top global producer.
Colombia still produces exclusively Arabica coffee, and though the country suffered setbacks and lower yields from an outbreak of coffee-leaf rust in the early 2010s, production has fairly bounced back thanks to the development and spread of disease-resistant plants, as well as aggressive treatment and preventative techniques.
Colombia’s size alone certainly contributes to the different profiles that its 20 coffee-growing departments (out of a total 32) express in the cup, but even within growing regions there are plentiful variations due to the microclimates created by mountainous terrain, wind patterns, proximity to the Equator, and, of course, differences in varieties and processing techniques.
The country’s northern regions (e.g. Santa Marta and Santander) with their higher temperatures and lower altitudes, offer full-bodied coffees with less brightness and snap; the central “coffee belt” of Antioquia, Caldas, and Quindio among others, where the bulk of the country’s production lies, produce those easy-drinking “breakfast blend” types, with soft nuttiness and big sweetness but low acidity. The southwestern departments of Nariño, Cauca, and Huila tend to have higher altitude farms, which comes through in more complex acidity and heightened florality in the profiles.
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF COFFEE GROWERS
Founded in 1927, the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia (aka the National Federation of Coffee Growers, hence the “FNC” abbreviation) is a large NGO that provides a wide variety of services and support to the country’s coffee producers, regardless of the size of their landholdings or the volume of their production. The marketing arm of the FNC develops campaigns to push not only international consumption of Colombian coffee, but also, more recently, domestic consumption of specifically specialty-grade Colombian coffees. (The creation of the Juan Valdez “character” in the 1950s is the clearest example of the outward-facing advertising that has built the FNC’s reputation; the creation and spread of Juan Valdez cafes in-country continues the institution’s mission to grow domestic consumption as well.)
The FNC also guarantees a purchase price for any coffee grown within Colombia, which provides some degree of financial security to farmers: They have the option to find private buyers or break into specialty markets, or they can tender their coffee to the FNC and receive a somewhat stable (if also rather standard, influenced by the global commodities market) price at any point during the year. This is designed to eliminate some of the market pressures and provide reliable income to the coffee sector, though it also comes under criticism for disincentivising the development of super-specialty lots and microlots.
The scientific arm of the organization, Cenicafé, is devoted to research, development, dissemination, and support throughout the country. A wide-ranging extension service employing more than 1,500 field workers is deployed to meet and consult with farmers on soil management, processing techniques, variety selection, disease prevention and treatment, and other agricultural aspects to coffee farming. A tax is imposed on all coffee exports in order to fund this work as well as the other provisions and protections that the FNC offers, regardless of a producer’s participation or use of FNC services, marketplace, and programs.
The FNC also built and operates a coffee theme park in Quindío (Parque Nacional del Café), in collaboration with the Department Committee of Coffee Growers of Quindío: In it is a coffee-history museum, a coffee garden, an example of a traditional farmer’s house, and a roller coaster called “La Broca.”