Growing coffee is tough. Making money from coffee can be even tougher. So it’s not often you hear a success story as bright as the Salas Higuita’s. They live on finca El Chuscal outside Giraldo, Antioquia. Far from the din of the city, Silvia and Ruben prefer the countryside. It’s peaceful here.
Silvia sits placidly at her table, faded tattoos shading her hands while they pick through a pile of pergamino. Ruben chats with us all the while, he enjoys talking about his farm. He has good reason to be proud- in just 10 years, they’ve won two cups of excellence. Not bad for a department with thousands of producers.
Thanks to coffee, their children will all have degrees from la Universidad de Antioquia (Ruben mentions this more than once). The kids may study in the city, but just like their parents, they intend to work towards modernizing Colombia’s coffee industry for a better future.
The charm of the family lies in their simplicity- they live, work, and play on finca el Chuscal. Avocados, corn, beans, plantains, and chickens paint an abundant life around a simple home.
Their enthusiasm is plenty too- Silvia welcomes us into her home while we catch our breath from the winding hike up and take in their paradise. What I call paradise is in fact a long story of backbreaking work. In the beginning, Ruben planted the first coffee lots with no expectations- he hoped to bring in extra money from the co-op sales. On a whim, they entered their coffee into the Antioquian Cup of Excellence.
They took home 6th place.
People wanted their coffee. That’s when they knew they were onto something.
Many co-ops simply accept or reject coffees based on a quick analysis, but don’t grade them. A whole new world opened for them- one where quality is compensated accordingly.
Silvia always sorted the pergamino by hand and Ruben diligently picked the ripest cherries for immediate milling. What else could they do to get a truly excellent coffee?
The niece of Silvia and Ruben, she’s currently an agronomist student at Universidad de Antioquia and the brains behind their 1st place cup of excellence coffee. She attributes the stellar cup to the prolonged fermentation. Whatever her secret formula is, it works.
We cupped Dona Silvia’s Caturra Chiroso at 87.5 points. Notes of blueberry jump off the tongue and mellow into a graham cracker finish. While only 70 kg is available of this exclusive lot, we are excited to feature 1000 kg of finca el Chuscal’s estate lot. This includes a mix of Bourbon, Caturra Chiroso, Tabi, and Castillo; all harvested in January 2020.
When asked what they want coffee drinkers to know about them and their coffee, Ruben said he wants you (yes, YOU!) to come up to his farm and see the lands for yourself. Spend some time with him and Silvia to understand the effort required for quality. It’s an open invitation from the family!