The ‘Arabica’ Whisperer

The ‘Arabica’ Whisperer

The best part of waking up? Well, it’s coffee, of course.

Humanity truly runs on this beverage that helps millions of people around the world wake up, work and function. And if it’s of the Arabica variety, its delicious ‘kick’ will keep you going strong all day long.

Arabica is the leading of the two main species in the world and far superior in taste to its Robusta counterpart. Arabica is far smoother, sweeter and less acidic, translating into a tastier, richer cup of coffee.

The Adam and Eve of coffee, Arabica traces its roots to Ethiopia, where it was first cultivated around 1,000 B.C. The International Coffee Organization reports that over 60% of the world’s coffee production is devoted to Arabica cultivars, growing best in countries between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer, known as the “Bean Belt.”




That’s the region where Colombia is situated. The South American nation is among the countries where you can find some of the best Arabica coffee beans in the world. The mountainous terrain, high rainfall and mild climate, as well as its tropical location offer the best geography for growing 100% Arabica coffee beans.


My birthstone is Arabica coffee bean

Farmer Juan Pablo Villota Leyva is taking full advantage of these ideal conditions to push Arabica beans to new heights, winning more awards than any other coffee grower in Colombia with his Café San Alberto.

Juan Pablo Villota


You might say that Villota Leyva has coffee running through his veins after having been born in a coffee growing family.

He manages Hacienda San Alberto, perched on a steep ravine of the Central Cordillera of Quindio state. San Alberto was founded when Villota Leyva’s grandfather Gustavo Leyva, defied local customs and planted his Arabica coffee trees 5,900 feet above sea level. His father, Eduardo Villota, would continue the family planting tradition before Juan Pablo would take over.

He combined his father’s and grandfather’s farming knowledge with an international degree from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management to develop a premium global brand with his Arabica Caturra, Arabica Castillo and Arabica Gesha.

A Hug in a Mug

Café San Alberto stands tall among premium coffee brands. It won Three Gold Starts at the 2012 International Taste and Quality Institute in Belgium, six consecutive Gold Awards between 2014-2019 from the Monde Selection, as well as the 2017 “Colombia, Land of Diversity Prize” from the National Federation of Coffee Growers.

The brand offers a luscious, sweet, aromatic taste with hints of caramel and mellow dark chocolate, combined with fruit-like acidity for a harmonious balance that leaves a distinctive, yet elegant character on the palate. In simple terms: a hug in a mug.

The robust, sweet, award winning flavor of Café San Alberto is also the result of the farm’s commitment to eco-friendly practices, such as the rows of flowering hibiscus that keep insects away from the plantation.

Juan Pablo and his brother Gustavo apply sustainable business to the 15 hectares of land that start with selecting and handpicking cherries before embarking on the process of washing, depulping and roasting. Every bean goes through a “Quintuple Selection” process of quality control from the size of cherries in flotation tanks to temperature-controlled drying that guarantees only the best beans of the farm reach the market.

Located within the UNESCO-listed the Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia, visitors can view this entire process, as well as admire soaring panoramic views and sample the brand’s best offerings in Caturra and Castillo Paraguaycito varieties from sun-washed veranda tastings at the farm.


Coffee, a language in itself

And those in the United States can also immerse themselves in this coffee tasting experience when Juan Pablo Villota Leyva brings his coffee knowledge to a special Sommclass for coffee lovers.

Participants will learn to appreciate and enjoy the particular attributes of specialty coffee in these virtual classes that are part of SommTable’s Latino Heritage Month. Proceeds from the Sommclasses will benefit Latino experts whose restaurants and bars have been impacted by the coronavirus-related closures.

Juan Pablo will share the language of coffee through a delicious sensorial exploration detailing Café San Alberto’s planting, harvesting and coffee production process, as well as the farm’s rigorous agricultural practices that led them to receive two important environmental agricultural certifications, Rain Forest Alliance and UTZ, the label and program for sustainable farming.

He will also answer questions, share special moments and swap stories with the online community of coffee drinkers eager to learn about an indispensable beverage. Juan Pablo will also discuss Hacienda San Alberto’s commitment towards flavor and fierce protection of the natural and social conditions.

The master coffee cupper will teach about the depurated techniques he uses to artistically blend the flavors of the varietals grown at the state to create unique, whimsical new flavors of Café San Alberto. It’s a mixture of innovation, rigor and craftsmanship in every step.

A coffee sommelier recognizing the importance of terroir, flavor and aromas, Juan Pablo works his magic in a laboratory in the farm full of kettles and charts, roasting, testing with different brewing and serving methods until he finds the perfect combination of taste, smoothness and strength.

The online event with the man who speaks “Arabica” will give an inside look into his world and is an experience that will awaken your senses and will teach you the intricacies and joy of a great cup of joe.