CubaPLUS Magazine

Hacienda Fraternidad: The eternal aroma of coffee

By: Alina Veranes
Jun 15, 2023
Hacienda Fraternidad: The eternal aroma of coffee

Declared in 2000 as a World Heritage Site, what was the Fraternidad Estate, also called Fraternidad House, is part of the 171 settlements of the Archaeological Landscape made up of the remains of the first coffee plantations, blooming like gardens of Eden, among high mountains of the Cuban southeast.

Yes, because they were very efficient productive emporiums, managed with advanced cultivation methods, brought by the founders of those coffee plantations, mostly of French origin, and they were also vehicles for the arrival of new manifestations of culture, both from civilized Ciudad Luz or from African regions such as exotic Dahomey, where most of the slaves forced to work there came from.

Hacienda Fraternidad: The eternal aroma of coffeeTestimonies from the time in which they flourished, especially in the early years of the 19th century, describe them as very beautiful estates, with a stately and beautiful central mansion, with stained glass windows and precious wood railings, including marble floors, very flowery around and inside, luxuriously decorated with ornaments and porcelain tableware and fine glassware and stylish furniture.

Even pianos for teaching music to the young ladies were taken along those steep and tremendous paths of the Cuban highlands. The global coffee boom allowed owners those gourmet refinements and more. The Fraternity or Red House for its ceramic roof in that color was founded in those times established here by the French because they fled from the maelstrom of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) which, after many years, it showed the undeniable ravages of time, even so, it was one of the best preserved.

For this reason, in 2014 a general repair project called The Ways of Coffee was undertaken, with financial support from the European Union, the Malongo Foundation, and the Office of the Conservator of the City of Santiago de Cuba. Already inserted in the Route of Coffee tourist offer, today it supports the sustainable development of the area by guaranteeing enjoyment in a responsible manner and promoting an environmental culture.

Also under the identifying label of "Eco Archaelógical Park Fraternity", it is intended that one of its missions will be a "living museum of coffee" because it is intended that there be pleasant information on the production process from the healthy and beautiful bushes of the grain to processing its red ripe strawberries, called cherry trees by harvesters. And more, until its transformation into the mythical drink of the gods, that it is, especially if it is Cuban.

The project does not stop at its finish and dreams of obtaining a sample of the coffee plantations of yesteryear, with a touch of that know-how of the French settlers of the time. All taking care of details such as varieties of coffee trees and even the types of fruit trees that protected them with their shade, including cocoa.

You daydream about creating a mill powered by water... What else is there to tell you? La Casona Fraternidad is located in a natural environment of great wealth in which a river current flows, there are shady and fresh forests, and the challenge of the mountains. Cuba is wild and remnants of the technological wisdom of yesteryear intertwined, with the occasional fascinating love legend, of course. They say that very passionate stories were lived on the coffee plantations of the Island. This is the aroma of coffee.

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