Ana Gloria, our “Annie”, as we call her, is a huge inspiration for us. We can say with certainty that Ana is the reason why we founded Chicas. When we traveled through the Colombian coffee regions in March 2019, we had no idea that in a few months we would be starting a company. We spent the last week of our coffee journey with Ana Gloria, she connected us with other farmers in the community and, most importantly, gave us the final push to start our own importing project. That is, for her, the company Chicas Industry already existed, so 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 dedicated to coffee for many years. She is not from a farming family and came to Huila more than 30 years ago with her ex-husband. They bought a piece of land and started growing coffee on it. She has two children, a daughter Norma Valentina and a son Miguel Ángel. They were successful for a while, but gradually Mrs. Ana began to encounter problems in her marriage, which became more acute when Miguel was diagnosed with autism at the age of five. To make matters worse, she was also diagnosed with breast cancer 15 years ago, that is about at that same time. Fortunately, everything was brought under control.
Mrs. Ana devoted herself fully to Miguel, while her husband began to be unfaithful to her, and unfortunately there was also domestic violence. The situation at home gradually worsened. Eventually, Ana said enough was enough and a difficult and exhausting divorce began. It went on for 4 long years because her ex-husband didn’t want to leave her absolutely anything. She ended up with 20% of their property, a small part of the farm which was in a very bad shape after the divorce proceedings – no one took care of it for 4 years… During the whole process, her daughter Norma, who was starting university at the time, was the biggest support for her.
But Ana did not give up. With the help of friends, she set to work. And she never stopped believing that it would get better. For the past five years, since part of the farm was confiscated in court, she has devoted all her energy to growing specialty coffee. She is constantly trying to improve the processes on the farm, taking courses and sharing information with other farmers. She built up admiration and respect in the community and became a recognized leader. Currently, she is a part of two coffee associations. Especially 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 past three years and motivates other female farmers by her own example. Also, 80% of the farm employs only women, especially those who need it the most. She knows their stories and helps them support their families. But most importantly, working with Mrs. Ana is super motivating, she gives everyone around self-confidence and trust in life.
Her optimism is incredible. When we were visiting her with two friends in 2020, someone stole about two bags of coffee from her pickup on the way to town. We were all shocked. And our Ana just said, “Well, it could have been worse, it wasn’t a gunpoint robbery.” And it didn’t spoil 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 currently one of the most famous among specialty coffee fans. And it was here that our plans to start Chicas Industry first began to take shape. We visited the region for the first time in March 2019 and fell in love with the place. Especially around Bruselas, a small town near the tourist and coffee-famous city of San Agustin. In addition, a large part of the coffee is surprising in its quality, and the farmers with their knowledge and technological equipment. Various well-equipped associations are being formed among farmers and you will have no problem taste coffee directly from the farmer there.
“Mrs. Ana has created a little paradise for herself, her family and everyone who visits her.”
Finca Villa Valentina, as Mrs. Gloria’s farm is called, is located near the town of Bruselas in the southern part of the Huila region. The “vereda” 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. Although the coffee machines are up to 30 years old, they underwent a complete renovation five years ago. Ana wants to gradually plant new, lesser-known varieties as well. And she has already started with few trees of java, týpica and mokka variety. On the farm, Ana Gloria processes her coffee mainly using the traditional washed method. A few years ago, however, she began to process part of her harvest as honey or natural coffee, and she is having great success with them.
Ana Gloria has a lot of experience with the processing of washed and experimental coffees. She mainly processes coffees using the washed method, but sometimes, if the climate permits, she also makes honey and natural coffees.
This lot is a mixture of caturra, castillo and colombia, i.e. traditional varieties. It is processed by the washed method. After harvest, the coffee was sorted out by the floating procedure of the defective cherries and then de-pulped. This was followed by fermentation in plastic barrels for 48 to 72 hours according to the measured sugar content. Sugar content is checked after the end of the daily collection using a refractometer. The coffee is then dried for 8 to 15 days on raised and roofed frames.