Finca Floripondio is one of the most recent farms to be planted near Samaipata in Santa Cruz by the Rodriguez family. They've been experimenting with growing coffee in a region not at all known for coffee production, and they've been getting amazing results! The farm was planted in 2014, sits at an altitude of 1,710 metres above sea level, and has 47.29 hectares of coffee-producing land.
Floripondio is the ideal location for experimenting with different coffee varietals. This is due to its high altitude, a tropical microclimate characterised by high humidity and at times cool temperatures, and a distinct soil profile. To date, they've planted over 50 different varietals at the farm, and they hope to discover which are best suited to the land and this particular latitude and altitude. They've kept the lemon and tangerine trees that were originally on the farm, both to separate the different coffee varietals and to sell the fruit from the trees at the local markets.
Floripondio gets its name from the Floripondio trees (commonly known as Angel's Trumpets in English) that are native to the area and which grow on the farm. The flower is thought to possess some hallucinogenic properties, and legend has it that you start dreaming as soon as you lay down beneath a Floripondio tree! This is apt, because the natural scenery at Floripondio is breathtakingly beautiful and can seem like something out of a dream at times.
SL28 is among the most well-known and well-regarded varieties from Africa. It has consequently spread from Kenya, where it was originally selected in the 1930s, to other parts of Africa (it is important in Arabica-growing regions of Uganda, in particular) and now to the Americas. The varietal is suited for medium-to-high altitudes and shows resistance to drought, but it's susceptible to the major diseases of coffee plants. SL28 is notable for its rusticity. This means that it can be left untended for years or even decades at a time, and then return to successful production. There are SL28 trees that are 60–80 years old and still productive in many parts of Kenya.
SL28 was selected at the former Scott Agricultural Laboratories (now the National Agricultural Laboratories, NARL, situated at Kabete). Individual tree selections made at the Scott Laboratories during the 1935–1939 period were prefixed 'SL'.
Forty-two trees of various origins were selected and studied for yield, quality, and drought and disease resistance. SL28 was selected in 1935 from a single tree in a population called Tanganyika Drought Resistant.
In 1931, the senior coffee officer of Scott Labs, A.D. Trench, conducted a tour of Tanganyika (now Tanzania). According to historical documents, he noticed a variety growing in the Moduli district that appeared to be tolerant to drought, diseases and pests. Seed was collected and brought back to Scott Laboratories, where its drought resistance was confirmed. It was widely distributed until superseded by its progeny, SL28.
SL28 was considered the prize selection of this period of intensive breeding.
This is a wonderful combination of the classic Kenyan flavour of blackcurrant with a sweet and creamy honeycomb that is totally Bolivian. Add in a shoulder of mango that's is all its own, and this is a bit special.
Department: Santa Cruz
Altitude: 1,710 m.a.s.l.
Coffee growing area: 47.29 hectares
Owners: Rodriguez family
Varietals grown: Java, Caturra, Bourbon, Ethiosar, SL28, SL34, Yellow Pacamara, Batian and San Bernardo