A Cradle of Coffee Farms The Magdalena River splits Santander into two large geographic regions: a flat river valley to the west, and the steep eastern cordillera. It is in the cordillera where smallholder farmers grow coffee amid lush forests and a variety of wildlife. Nearly 45,000 hectares of coffee are planted in Santander, and harvest takes place from October through December. Specialty coffees from Santander are known for their chocolate and nutty notes, with strong body. Download Fact Sheet
Santander is known for its rich culinary offerings. The region's signature dishes include Hormigas culonas (roasted ants), Arepa Santandereana (arepas with salt and pork), roasted goat, and Changua (a soup made of milk and eggs).
Shade Trees and Sweeter Beans The intense sun of Santander makes shade trees a must in the region. Huge swaths of shade trees create a more even, cooler temperature, and beans can develop more slowly. This slower maturation increases sugar accumulation in the beans, and results in a refreshing cup profile.
Forest? Or Farm? At first glance, coffee farms in Santander look a lot like forestland. But beneath the shade of that forest canopy are coffee trees. The trees protect the coffee from the intense sun, and also provide nutrients as falling leaves decompose into rich soil. Farms in Santander average about 2.5 hectares each, and are run by dedicated growers that inherited the land from their ancestors.
Fully Washed, The Traditional Way The Santander mountains are a constant source of fresh water. Growers take advantage of it, and 100% of the processing is still done in the traditional way. Pulp is removed from the cherries in the afternoon, and then they are fermented. Wet coffee parchment is then dried in the warm heat of the sun.

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The Dawn of Colombian Coffee History
Coffee cultivation started at the beginning of 19th century in this corner of Colombia. Historians believe that coffee crossed the Venezuelan border following paths through the hills and mountains. Once settled in Santander, the Jesuit priest Francisco Romero had Catholics in the region plant coffee seeds as a penance. As a result, the cultivation of coffee quickly expanded to the south into other Colombian provinces.
Pioneers in Sustainability
The people of this region already knew how important balance was in an ecosystem. They have long grown their coffee crops under shade trees, surrounded by natural forests. Local growers also understand the need to protect water and wildlife. As a result, this region was the first to embrace international sustainability initiatives related to environmental protection and organic production.
Café El Sombrio Santander Translation: Shade Grown Coffee - Santander Coffee HARVESTING OCT 2016-FEB 2017 A shade grown cup characterized by its mild flavor and balance between high body and refreshing acidity.
  • Flavor Mild and balanced, with nutty and slight citric tones
  • Body Medium to high rounded body
  • Acidity Refreshing acidity
  • 1 - Fragrance/Aroma
  • 2 - Flavor
  • 3 - Acidity
  • 4 - Balance
  • 5 - Body
  • 6 - Aftertaste
  • 7 - Overall
  • Cupping Score: 84+
  • Quality: Colombia Excelso Nariño, European Preparation
  • Producer: Carefully selected farms from the Santander community
  • Variety: Castillo/Colombia (75,9%) Caturra (24,1%)
  • Processing: Fully washed, fully sun dried
  • Altitude: 1,700 to 2,200 meters ASL
  • Harvest: October to February
  • Packing: 65lb box  What’s this?
Continue your exploration of Colombia: Southwest Antioquia Nariño