El Jardín

  • Country
  • State
  • Municipality
  • Town
    San Vicente
  • Elevation
    1,972m above sea level
  • Variety
    Caturra, Colombia
  • Processing
  • Farm Size
    1 Hectare
  • Farm Owner
    Leonel Calambás
  • Relationship Length
    Since 2022

Great structure and clarity, with brown sugar sweetness and a creamy mouthfeel. Green grape, raspberry and cocoa.

This coffee was produced by Leonel Calambás on his small farm, El Jardín, located near the town of San Vicente, in the municipality of Inzá in the state of Cauca, Colombia.

At just one hectare large, El Jardín (which translates to ‘the garden’ in Spanish) is a tiny farm, situated at 1,972m above sea level, in the steep, rugged hills that surround San Vicente. Don Leonel, as he is known around town, has been working in coffee his whole life and regards coffee production as part of his cultural heritage. With the goal of passing on this heritage, Don Leonel has gifted each of his seven children with their own plot of land on the farm – so far, the plan has worked, with all of his children pursuing a career in coffee-growing!

Don Leonel’s family are part of a much-needed younger generation that want to continue with coffee. The ongoing financial security and stability of the specialty coffee model is a critical factor in attracting younger people to coffee production, with access to an international market resulting in much higher premiums being paid for their crop than the region’s producers could earn through commercial trade.


El Jardín is mainly planted with Caturra, which was the most popular variety during the 1970s and 1980s when most local farms were established. In recent years, Don Leonel has also introduced hybrid varietal Colombia, in an effort to reduce the incidence of coffee leaf rust without affecting cup quality. Don Leonel farms his coffee with traditional techniques and most of the labour is provided by him and his family. Fertilisation occurs around three times a year, usually after manual weeding, and pesticides are rarely used.

Like most of the nearby towns, San Vicente has breathtaking views of Colombia’s highest volcano, Nevado del Huila, which sits at the point where the states of Huila, Tolima and Cauca meet. The rich, volcanic region of the area makes it ideal for agriculture and contributes to the excellent cup quality of coffees grown and processed here. Cool overnight temperatures result in dense beans, which are notable for their sweetness and complexity. Lower temperatures and high rainfall also influence processing techniques, with longer-than-usual ferment and drying times being necessary.


The municipality of Inzá is located in the corner Cauca state, bordering with Tolima and Huila and looking out to the west over the Pacific Ocean. This region has excellent conditions for growing high-quality coffee, with high elevations and rich volcanic soil. The plateau has a very stable climate year-round thanks to its proximity to the equator and the surrounding mountains, which protect the coffee against the humidity of the Pacific and the trade winds from the south. This region is an important source of water and wildlife for Colombia, in addition to being prime coffee-growing land.

Inzá is the traditional home of the Nasa (or Páez) people, one of Colombia’s largest indigenous groups. During the Spanish invasion of Colombia, many of the Nasa were able to avoid bloodshed by escaping to the rugged hills and high plateaus of the Andes Mountains, where the Spaniards were unable to pursue them. Today, the Nasa economy relies on agriculture, and society is organised into tight knit farming communities who distribute duties equitably under the guidance of cabildos, or locally elected councils. Like many indigenous groups across Latin America, the Nasa have spent decades lobbying for the return of their land rights, finding success in recent years. Their struggle has led to legal recognition of the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples, including recognition of the autonomy of their communal indigenous lands in the 1991 Colombian Constitution.


Coffee from Cauca has historically been very difficult to access due to the region’s isolation and instability. For many years this part of Colombia was under the control of Colombia’s notorious rebel group, the FARC, and as a result, it was unsafe and violent. Since 2012, safe access to this region has been possible as a result of peace talks between the national government and the rebels. Thanks to these efforts, more and more stunning coffees from small producers in the region have become accessible to international buyers.

Our export partners for this coffee, Pergamino, have worked hard commercialise specialty-grade coffee throughout Cauca, and are now able to source some outstanding coffees from very dedicated producers. They work closely with the producers to give them feedback on their coffees (provided by Pergamino’s expert team of cuppers) and provide top up payments when the coffee is sold at a higher premium.

Head here to learn more about the work of Pergamino.



The coffee in this lot was selectively hand-harvested, with most labour being provided by Don Leonel and his family. It was processed using the washed method at the farm’s ‘micro-beneficio’ (mill).

The coffee was pulped using a small manual or electric pulper and then placed into a fermentation tank, where it was fermented for around 48 hours (depending on the weather and the farm’s location) and then washed using clean water from nearby rivers and streams.


The coffee was then carefully dried (over 10–18 days) on parabolic beds, which are constructed a bit like a ‘hoop house’ greenhouse, and act to protect the coffee from the rain and prevent condensation dripping back onto the drying beans. The greenhouses are constructed out of plastic sheets and have adjustable walls to help with airflow, and temperature control to ensure the coffee can dry slowly and evenly.

Once dry, the coffee was delivered to Pergamino’s warehouse in Medellín, where it was cupped and graded. Once approved, coffee rested in parchment until it was ready for export.