Hacienda San Alberto
The Hacienda is located in the municipality of Buenavista, in the department of Quindio, one of the most important coffee-growing areas in Colombia.
Like many of these farms in Colombia, Café San Alberto is the result of hard work by a family that has kept the tradition alive for three generations. The story of San Alberto begins in 1972 when they bought the first land for cultivation. Over time, they acquired more and more adjacent land, and thus began a larger coffee production.
The coffee plants are grown at an altitude of 1,500 to 1,800 meters. Also, the mild temperatures and rich volcanic soils contribute to many of the special characteristics.
The Hacienda did not limit itself to coffee growing. As the company grew, they developed their own production process and expanded their services.
Café San Alberto
At the Hacienda, modern production methods have been introduced and perfected over time. These are the Fivefold Selection, a series of additional measures designed to ensure that only the best coffee is produced.
- Tree selection 1: This consists of careful manual harvesting of the fruit, only when it is red and ripe, and selection by flotation.
- Tree selection 2: Although harvesting is always done carefully, some defective fruits can be missed. For this reason, a second inspection is carried out. This ensures that only the best berries are selected.
- Parchment wet sorting: When the beans are ready for drying, they are sorted by hand. In this way, only healthy beans pass to the next stage.
- Green beans sorting: During threshing, the beans are sorted and graded according to size, weight, physical quality and color.
- Cupping selection: To ensure a uniform batch of the best quality, a cup test is performed. In this way it is known whether the beans to be roasted meet all the quality requirements.
Thanks to the detailed and systematic production process, Café San Alberto has developed its own peculiarities. First of all, they grow only 100% Arabica beans of the Caturra and Castillo varieties. This combination results in a cup of excellent quality and very distinct aromas.
A cup of San Alberto coffee is characterized by its fruity acidity, creamy body and smooth, balanced flavor. It also stands out for its notes of dark chocolate, caramel and fruit. It is a faithful representation of a Colombian coffee of excellent quality. So it is perfect for those who like a soft cup with lots of presence, aroma and flavor.
The most awarded coffee
If there is a flagship coffee brand in Colombia, it is definitely Café San Alberto. Proof of this are the numerous international awards and quality seals.
- Superior Taste Award: Awarded by the International Taste & Quality Institute (ITQI). Café San Alberto has received 9 of these awards, every year from 2012 to 2020. There are 3 types of Superior Taste Awards, depending on the score achieved. The product can be awarded 3, 2 or 1 gold star. Café San Alberto has always been awarded 3 stars, which means that it is an exceptional coffee.
- Crystal Taste Award: This award was given by ITQI in 2014. It is awarded to products that have received 3 gold stars for 3 consecutive years.
- Diamond Taste Award: In 2018 the ITQI awarded it for having earned 3 stars, 7 times in 10 years.
- Gold Award: A recognition it has received from 2014 and until 2019, 6 times. It is awarded by Monde Selection and means that the coffee has achieved a final score between 80 and 89%.
- High Quality Trophy: Also awarded by Monde Selection, it indicates that the coffee, after cupping, has a final result between 90% and 100%, that is, the best quality.
- Product of the Year: Awarded by Worldfood in Moscow. It was awarded in 2011 for its excellent quality after a rigorous tasting and sampling process.
- Most Exotic Coffee: This award is given as part of the “Colombia, Land of Diversity” competition. It was awarded in 2017 for its outstanding quality.
The reason why the Café San Alberto brand has received so many seals of approval, and for many years, is the consistency of its coffee. Over the years, the fivefold selection process has made it possible to produce coffee of consistent quality and taste. This has made the brand unique, managing to create a flagship coffee.
On the other hand, the blend of their coffee plays a crucial role. They offer beans with identical flavor from their plantation, 70-75% of the Caturra variety and 20-25% of the Castillo variety. This combination, typical of San Alberto, is also one of the reasons why they have received so many national and international awards.
Where can I buy San Alberto coffee?
You can find San Alberto coffees in its own stores, online and selected gourmet stores.
At 4 locations you can enjoy a true coffee experience. Four locations are called Coffee Temples because they pay homage to Colombian coffee. There are two physical locations in Bogotá, one in Cartagena and another in the cradle of production in Buenavista, Quindío.
Terraza San Alberto: An emblematic place for coffee, for the company and for the country. The terrace is located 200 meters from the village center of Buenavista. It is the cradle of coffee and the place where the crops are. Here you can not only buy coffee but also choose from a wide range of tours according to your tastes and interests.
Usaquén, Bogotá: In Usaquen, the family runs a nice cafe where you can taste coffee and also buy a variety of products.
Gold Museum, Bogota: The café is located inside the museum, in the center of the city.
Torre Avianca, Bogotá: The café is located in the Avianca Tower, in the center of the city. This is the largest coffee temple in Bogota.
Cartagena: Located in the historic center of the city, diagonally across from the cathedral. Santos de Piedra 3- 86.
San Alberto coffee can also be purchased online directly from the website and shipping is worldwide. You can choose the presentation: Beans or ground. Likewise, you can order it with two different degrees of roasting, according to your tastes and needs: medium or high. Besides the traditional coffee, you can also find seasonal kits.
Besides coffee, you can also buy some souvenirs, such as tote bags with their logo. A traditional coffee bag to decorate a room and the apron of the coffee ambassadors. As in the physical stores, you can also buy accessories and coffee machines.
San Alberto Coffee Experiences
The brand is known for offering a wide range of authentic coffee experiences. For Café San Alberto, it is very important to promote the Colombian coffee culture to their customers and how important it is to drink 100% Colombian coffee.
An emblematic experience of the brand that you, as a coffee lover, cannot miss. You will learn to appreciate and enjoy coffee and learn more about its organoleptic properties to challenge your senses. This experience lasts one hour and includes all the material for the coffee tasting and a surprise gift.
Coffee baptism with rum tasting:
In this tour you will not only learn how to taste coffee, but you will also get to know the best premium rums of Colombia. The experience lasts an hour and a half and includes all the materials for the activity as well as a surprise gift. It is offered at all locations except the Museo del Oro.
Coffee baptism accompanied by honey:
You can also combine the coffee tasting with a pairing of the best Colombian honeys. This is an experience that distinguishes Café San Alberto. This experience also lasts an hour and a half and includes the materials and a surprise gift. It is offered at all Café San Alberto locations except Museo del Oro.
Virtual coffee baptism:
Due to the current pandemic, Café San Alberto looked for other alternatives to reach its customers. For this reason, you can also experience the different experiences virtually.
These experiences are carried out through the ZOOM platform and are available for almost all countries, taking into account the customs restrictions of each region. Café San Alberto will send you a complete kit with everything you need to participate in the experience. This includes the coffee, the utensils you need and other surprises. So you don’t need to have anything at home to participate, just your enthusiasm.
The virtual coffee baptism will last about an hour, during which you will learn more about Colombian coffee and how to awaken your senses to the taste of a good cup. The activity is offered in Spanish and English.
Premium coffee tour with tasting
This activity is only offered at the San Alberto Terrace. Since it is in the center of cultivation, this tour includes a coffee tasting while you learn more about the harvest and the coffee process at the hacienda. This activity lasts 2 to 2.5 hours. It includes an apron, an experience diary, a welcome coffee, a drink for the walk and a diploma as a “San Alberto Coffee Ambassador” – what more could you ask for?
Premium coffee tour with tasting and insight into alternative methods
On this tour, you will receive a detailed explanation of the alternative methods of coffee brewing followed by a tasting. It is also available only at the San Alberto Terrace. It lasts 2.5 to 3 hours and includes the tour and coffee tasting of the alternative methods.
Slow molecular cupping
For lovers of new brewing techniques, this is the ideal experience. It involves tasting San Alberto coffee through innovative textures and brewing methods. This activity is offered at all venues except the Gold Museum. It lasts 1.5 to 2 hours and includes the activity material and a surprise activity.
Our experience at Café San Alberto
Our visit took place on a weekday morning to avoid the large crowds of customers at Bogota’s newest Café San Alberto, located inside the Avianca building.
Upon entering the café, one is immersed in the San Alberto universe. The premise is spacious and features several elements that reference the farm and the coffee process.
On site, there are several coffee trees that come directly from Hacienda San Alberto. One of them had some ripe fruit that we were allowed to taste. These are very sweet.
What immediately catches the eye is the area where all the awards that Café San Alberto has received are displayed along with various decorations.
We were able to taste 5 different coffees brewed by Hernando Palacios and Katherine Castellanos, the two baristas of the café. We tasted espresso, cappuccino, coffee in Chemex, drip coffee, and made in a siphon with a halogen lamp.
During the tasting, the baristas explained the quantities used for each brew and how the same coffee can have different flavors depending on how it is made. For example, we noticed a much higher acidity in the coffee made in the dripper than in the coffee made in the Chemex.
On the other hand, Hernando and Katherine explained some key coffee tasting terms. Café San Alberto is characterized by a creamy body that wraps around the mouth and finishes with a sweet taste that lingers in the throat for a while. The surprising thing about this coffee is that its mild taste is ideal for people who are used to drinking coffee with sweetness.
Good coffee doesn’t need sugar, Café San Alberto is certainly one of them. In fact, when I tasted the cappuccino, I had the impression that it was already sweetened. Hernando explains that this sensation occurs when the milk is well-frothed and leaves a sweet and soft taste in the mouth.
The two baristas were always very attentive and explained everything to us in a simple and clear way.
Also for you, as a coffee lover, I can highly recommend a visit to this café. Here you can feel how much dedication, passion and knowledge with which the whole coffee world is shared.