La Victoria coffee farm
La Victoria is one of the biggest and oldest coffee farms of northern Colombia. It was founded in 1892 by Charles and Alice Bowden, a couple of English entrepreneurs who arrived to the country to work in the development of the railways. The property originally comprised 1223 hectares in an area that was, centuries ago, inhabited by indigenous communities of the ancient Tayrona civilization.
The start of a long story
The Bowdens were among the pioneers that started producing coffee extensively in the region around Minca. They engineered a system of pipelines that uses water from the numerous streams of the farm to collect coffee from remote areas and to power the machinery of the coffee factory. Thanks to these innovations, La Victoria Coffee Company became one of the top producers of coffee in the region by 1921, with a yearly production of 200.000 kg.
Casas Viejas, historically the coffee pickers home
This rapid success attracted peasants from different parts of the country who progressively settled in the farm. Most of the work, however, relied on the hands of hundreds of coffee pickers that came only during the harvest season (from October to January), and stayed in the houses we renovated for our mountain lodge.
A wind of change for the farm
During the second half of the XX century, the history of La Victoria was marked by periods of bonanza and fluctuating coffee prices, but also by the impact of the armed conflict that affected the country and the region. More recently, the Weber-Wilde family, who owns the property for two generations now, is opening the farm to alternative activities.
Tourism, a new opportunity
In addition to producing first quality organic coffee, La Victoria is also home to Nevada, a small artisanal brewery that produces handcrafted beer with fresh water from the Sierra and local products such as coffee and coca leaves. La Victoria is also turning to tourism as an alternative source of income, offering a guided tour that explains the history and the operation of the coffee farm, and opening its natural reserve for the enjoyment of birders and nature lovers.
La Victoria Natural Reserve
Since the early years of La Victoria, the extension of coffee plantations was limited in order to preserve its unique ecosystems and wildlife. Today, more than the 80% of its total 500 hectares are protected as a natural reserve, making La Victoria a prime destination for nature lovers and particularly bird watchers in Colombia.
La Victoria, home to a wide wildlife diversity
With altitudes between 800 and 1750 meters and landscapes ranging from tropical to high mountain climate, La Victoria constitute a transition zone for over 200 hundred species of migrating birds while being home for at least 7 endemic species of exotic birds. Other tropical animals, like amphibians, butterflies can be found exploring the pristine rivers and dense forests surrounding the coffee farm.
We have found historical photos of La Victoria coffee farm. This exclusive photo collection from the mid-XX century has generously been re-edited by Clémentine Comoy, a french profesional photo-restorer.