Colombia Finca Santuario Aquacatillo Washed Red Typica

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In the cup this starts out as baker's chocolate with lots of brown sugar, and it has a delicious sweet and juicy lime acidity. It's a chocolate lime sweet in a cup.



The story starts back in 2009, when it seemed like we had been searching for a great Colombian coffee forever. This task was much harder than it should have been, with Colombian yields massively down and lots of the coffee being hoovered up by people with big pockets who just needed to have a Colombian coffee, regardless of the quality. We found this farm on the offer sheet of an importer we don't usually use, but we bought the coffee because it tasted great and because it had a great backstory, too.

We stocked the 2009 Typica crop from this farm and it was only a small lot, but it was so popular and so enjoyed that it was gone in two and a half weeks. We had expected it would last until the new crop was due to arrive, many weeks later. So we stocked a good amount of it in a future year (and it still flew out of the door).

The coffee, and the farm, become a favourite. But one year we found out from Camilo that the importer would not be bringing in the coffee, and so all the hard work, searching, and cupping would be wasted. So cue the music and a flight to Colombia (tagged on to the start of my trip to the World Barista Championships); I flew out to see Camilo and try to fix this.

We bought directly, but some communication issues and shipment problems meant we lost this farm as a partner. It was so sad, and I don't think I ever truly forgot this coffee.

Fast forward to Seattle at the World Barista Championships (yes, another championship), and I bump into Camillo. After a long conversation, we decided it was for sure worth another try.

Camilo is one of the leading lights and, you could say, a template for the future of the Colombian coffee industry. I’ll try to quantify that statement: Colombia has had a great reputation, and has achieved great prices (even when markets were low, the Colombian differential was always high), for years. But changes in climate and issues with plant diseases (leaf rust is a huge problem in Colombia) have put pressure on yields, and so put pressure on farms to change traditional plant stock for that of more disease-resistant strains such as Castillo, Catimor and Colombia. The problem with this is that these varietals don’t take into account what's important to me: how it tastes.

Camilo is working with varietals purely for their intrinsic taste values and to make the best farm – not just in the region or in Colombia, but in the world. He is constantly asking questions and working with interesting irrigation ideas to work against the change in climate, and he’s even building a giant greenhouse for an experimental lot of growing coffee under cover.

This crazy approach to growing coffee is nothing new to Camilo. He bought the land that Santuario now sits upon before the land had any coffee on it at all. It had previously been grazing ground for cattle. It was barren and in a rather bad way, but it seemed there was potential for great Colombian coffee to be grown. With an altitude of 1,800–2,100 metres above sea level, low temperatures at night (but not too low), and high temperatures during the day (again not too high), the land had possibilities.

With active agronomy, soil management and careful varietal selection, this farm is now one of the most amazing coffee experiments I have seen. If I were to build a farm (and one day, I hope, that will happen), this is the model I would follow. Camilo has selected Typica and Bourbon as the main crop (80%), and he also has experimental lots of Geisha, Maragogype and Mocha (20%). You can see by the map below that this farm has been meticulously planned, and every piece is designed to fit in with each other.

'Aguacatillo' – the coffee's namesake – is a tablon on the farm. This is the first time I’ve seen this lot, and the good news is that it's delicious.

In the cup this starts out as baker’s chocolate with lots of​ ​brown sugar, and it has a delicious sweet and juicy lime​ ​acidity. It's a ​chocolate lime sweet in a cup.

  • Country: Colombia
  • Region: Cauca
  • City: Cali
  • Farm: Finca Santuario
  • Owner: Camilo Merizald
  • Farm size: 135.4 hectares
  • Coffee growing size: 62.9 hectares
  • Tablon: Aquacatillo
  • Varietal: Red Typica
  • Processing: Washed
  • Altitude: this lot – 2,050 m.a.s.l.; rest of farm – 1,890–2,010 m.a.s.l.


Baker's chocolate, brown sugar, lime acidity, chocolate lime sweet.

Clean cup: (1–8): 7
Sweetness: (18): 7
Acidity: (18): 7
Mouthfeel: (18): 7
Flavour: (18): 7
Aftertaste: (18): 6
Balance: (18): 6
Overall: (18): 8
Correction:(+36): +36

Total (max. 100): 91

Roasting Information
Between cracks, medium dark.

"Quick Look" Guide
Baker's chocolate, brown sugar, lime acidity, chocolate lime sweet.

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baker's chocolate, brown sugar, chocolate lime sweet, lime acidity,