Ana Gloria, our “Annie” as we call her, is a huge inspiration for us. It’s safe to say that Ana Chicas exist because of her. When we toured the coffee regions of Colombia in March 2019, we had no idea that in a few months we would be starting a business. We spent the last week of our coffee journey at Ana’s house, connecting us with other farmers and women in the community and most importantly, giving us the confidence to start our own importing project. Or rather, for her, Chicas Industry already existed, that’s how much she trusted us from the beginning.
This lady has our utmost respect. You would hardly expect such a complex life story behind her smile. She is a woman who inspires those around her, works to connect farmers and is currently even the president of the association of female farmers and represents the gender equality topics also in the coffee politics (FEDECAFE).
Ana Gloria has been involved in coffee for many years. She is not from a farming family and came to Huila more than 30 years ago with her then husband. They bought a plot of land and started growing coffee on it. She had two children, a daughter Norma Valentina and later a son Miguel Ángel. For a while they were successful, but gradually Ana began to encounter problems in her marriage, which became more acute when Miguel was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of five. To make matters worse, she was also diagnosed with breast cancer 15 years ago, around that time. Fortunately, everything was brought under control.
Mrs. Ana devoted herself fully to Miguel, while her husband became unfaithful and, unfortunately, there was domestic violence. The situation at home gradually deteriorated. Eventually Ana said enough is enough and a difficult and exhausting divorce began. It dragged on for 4 long years because the ex-husband wanted to leave her absolutely nothing. In the end, she got 20 % of their property, a small part of the farm. It was in a very neglected state after the divorce proceedings, no one took care of it for 4 years. Her daughter Norma, who was starting university at the time, was her biggest support throughout the process.
But Ana didn’t give up. With the help of her friends, she got to work and never stopped believing that things would get better. In the last five years, since she was awarded part of the farm in court, she has devoted all her energy to growing fine coffee. She is constantly trying to improve the processes on the farm, taking courses and sharing information with other farmers. She has built admiration and respect in the community and has become a respected leader. She currently belongs to two coffee associations. The latter, a purely female association, is her passion. There are a total of 84 women in the association and most of them, like her, are single mothers. Ana Gloria has been its president for the last three years and motivates the other women farmers by her own example. She also employs 80% of the women on the farm and only women, especially those who need it the most. She knows their stories and helps them to feed their families. Most importantly though, working with Ms. Ana is motivating in itself, giving everyone around her confidence and trust in life.
Her optimism is unreal. When we were visiting her with two female tourists in 2020, someone stole about two bags of coffee from her pickup truck on her motorcycle on the way out of town. We were all shocked and our Ana just said, “Well, it could have been worse, it wasn’t a mugging with a gun to her head” and it didn’t ruin her day at all. That’s how she is, she finds something positive in everything unpleasant!
Finca Villa Valentina
Caturra, Colombia, Castillo Tambo, Typica, Java, Pink Bourbon
The Huila region is now one of the most famous among coffee lovers. And it was here that our plans to establish Chicas Industry first began to take shape. We first visited the region in March 2019 and fell in love with the place. Especially the area around Bruselas, a small town near the tourist and coffee-famous city of San Agustin. San Agustin is, among other things, one of the largest coffee producers in the entire region. Moreover, much of the coffee surprises with its quality and the farmers with their knowledge and technological equipment. Various associations and associations have been set up among the farmers and it is no problem to taste the coffee directly from the farmer.
Mrs Ana has created a little paradise for herself, her family and everyone who comes here.
Finca Villa Valentina, as Gloria’s farm is called, is located near the town of Bruselas in the southern part of the Huila region. The village in which the farm is located is called La Hacienda. Mrs Ana has a total of 5 hectares of coffee here, growing traditional varieties such as Castillo, Colombia and Caturra. The coffee trees are up to 30 years old, but five years ago they underwent a complete renewal. Ana wants to gradually plant new coffee trees, lesser known varieties. On the farm, Ana Gloria processes her coffee mainly using the traditional washed method. However, a few years ago, she also started processing some of her harvest as honey or natural coffees and has been very successful with these.
Ana Gloria has a lot of experience in processing washed and experimental coffees. She mainly processes coffees using the washed method, but occasionally, climate permitting, she also makes honeys and naturals.
This lot is a blend of Colombia and Castillo, the traditional varieties. It is processed using the washed method. After harvesting, the coffee was sorted by washing/rinsing the defective cherries and then de-skinning. This was followed by fermentation in plastic barrels for 48 to 72 hours, depending on the measured sugar content. The sugar content is checked after the end of the daily harvest using a refractometer. The coffee is then dried for 8 to 15 days on raised and covered frames.
This lot is a blend of Caturra and Castillo, the traditional varieties. It is processed using the washed method. After harvesting, the coffee was sorted by washing/rinsing the defective cherries and then de-skinning. This was followed by fermentation in plastic barrels for 48 to 72 hours, depending on the measured sugar content. The sugar content is checked after the end of the daily harvest using a refractometer. The coffee is then dried for 8 to 15 days on raised and covered frames.