No 30

Café de Santander, the Newest Café de Colombia’s Regional Geographical Indication

October, 2014


Café de Santander, the Newest Café de Colombia’s Regional Geographical Indication

Appropriate characterization, promotion and defense of origin is one of the key strategies by Café de Colombia to differentiate and position its coffees in the most sophisticated and demanding markets that look for quality and variety.

As a result of this work, Café de Santander, in northeastern Colombia, has just been recognized as Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) by Colombia’s Superintendence of Industry and Commerce, the authority in charge of watching over intellectual property. This new PDO joins those of Café de Colombia and the regional ones for Cauca, Nariño and Huila.

Since 2005, when Colombian Coffee was recognized as the first PDO in the country, Café de Colombia has been steadily working on its origin protection strategy, whose implementation is positively advancing in Colombia and international markets, in order to ensure competitive advantages and safeguard reputation of Colombian Coffee and its regional varieties.

The process of declaring Café de Santander as a PDO began in 2007 when the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), its National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafé), the Santander Departmental Coffee Growers Committee, the FNC´s Extension Service and Almacafé (the FNC’s logistics arm) begun a demanding research and characterization project.

Café de Colombia and Cenicafé visited, during three harvest cycles, farms located in different coffee-growing municipalities of Santander. They collected coffee samples, developed sensory quality testing, evaluated soil composition, agronomic crop management and climate information, and conducted physical and chemical analysis on coffee beans, to understand the relationship between Café de Santander quality and its place of origin.


Unique and representative characteristics of the region, such as human, cultural and traditional components, were also considered. In the case of Café de Santander, they are reflected in the growing, harvesting and post-harvesting practices.

The information collected was consolidated and presented to the national trademark and patents office – SIC (Superintendence of Industry and Commerce) to demonstrate the relationship between quality attributes of Café de Santander and its origin, requesting recognition of the PDO.

The SIC’s resolution granting the PDO recognizes Café de Colombia as an institution whose purpose is to “guarantee the welfare of coffee growers by guiding, organizing, promoting and regulating Colombian coffee growing through mechanisms that promote collaboration, participation and economic, scientific, technological, industrial and commercial development. It aims at preserving the strategic social capital that characterizes Colombian coffee growing.”

“All requests by Café de Colombia have met the highest national and international standards. It is very pleasing to witness how well Café de Colombia understands Intellectual Property as a tool that protects and creates value” said Pablo F. Robledo, Colombia’s Superintendent of Industry and Commerce.

Café de Santander, a specialty coffee

Due to its technologically advanced shaded production system, temperatures in the coffee growing area of Santander tend to be more homogeneous. This feature favors a slower fruit development, promotes accumulation of sugars and results in a concentrated harvest that facilitates homogeneous recollection at optimum maturity.

Because of this production structure, as well as soils characteristics, Café de Santander has a clean and balanced cup, with medium/high body, medium acidity, sweet, fruity and herbal flavors and a light citrus sensation. Sweet and herbal notes can be perceived in its fragrance.




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