Q Grade: 86
Region: San Gil, Santander
Process: Washed, Sun-dried
Taste Notes: Citrus, Vanilla & Caramel
Rainforest Alliance Certified and Organic.
Who is behind Hacienda El Calapo coffee?
Santiago Salazar, is a second generation coffee producer, owner of Hacienda El Calapo, he has been growing speciality coffee all his life. He knew about speciality coffee even before it was a worldwide trend, he never knew it was anything different than crafting with care the beans to achieve distinctive flavour.
Hacienda is the name given to big farms in Colombia, normally farms with a heritage and with a particular type of colonial architectural building. In Hacienda El Calapo the main farm is built around a 250 year old house adjacent to purpose built drying patios meaning the coffee is continually attended to as it dries in the sun. “It is important to be close to your coffee at all times”, claims Santiago. It is this experience and attention to detail that yields a rounded coffee with complex, structured flavours. Expect fruity, apple aromas leading to a clean prolonged citrus, honey and caramel aftertaste.
The Salazars have put all their passion around the coffee, they’re one of the few coffee families that has stayed living in the farm even after making it very successful, which others normally do. Santiago has not wanted to live outside of his farm, not even in the closer town of San Gil which is a medium size town few miles away. He wants to live in the farm to stay closer to his coffee plantation, all of which shows in the quality of his coffee beans.
What is special about El Calapo?
An authentic shade grown coffee like El Calapo is synonym of patience; you cannot rush this coffee. It’s the natural organic growing process of the farm that makes it a good home for the 200,000 coffee plants that grow under 32 varieties of colossal trees. One of the prevalent varieties is the El Calapo tree, common in this region of The Andes and gives the estate and coffee its name. When passing by the adjacent roads of the farm it is not very clear that it is a coffee farm, at first sight what you can see is a populated woods with enormous trees that dominate the view, but what happens underneath those trees is the perfect micro climate for the coffee, making it mature slowly and consistently until the next yearly crop, which is only a characteristic of Colombian coffees of high altitude like this.
Environmentally friendly then becomes a redundant description of this farm, for few consecutive years they did certified with organic labels and although they are not currently their organic nature of the farm remains in the production methods and in the way how they blend coffee and nature in a paradise for birds and other animals.
Where is Hacienda El Calapo?
Located in San Gil a naturally beautiful town near the reserve of Parque El Gallineral on the banks of Rio Fonce and close to the 2000 meter deep Chicamocha Canyon and surrounding national park. It is central to the coffee zone of Santander which is characterised by highly technical shade grown production.
This provides the constant temperatures needed to ripen fruits slowly and to develop complex and interesting sugars. Well-tended, shade grown fruit ripens homogeneously which also facilitates the manual collection of fruits at their optimum maturity.
The characteristic mineral-rich soil of this region combines to produce this coffee with a clean and balanced cup with medium-high body, medium acidity, with sweet, herbal and fruity flavours with soft citrus sensations.