vegetable tanned leather

Vegetable Tanned Leather

Authentic, respectful and durable.
Our leather improves with the passage of time.

Leather is one of the raw materials our ancestors appreciated most. Since leather is a breathable material, people began investigating how to preserve its raw quality and how to make it more durable. This is what we call tanning. The process of 100% vegetable tanning is one that is done in the most natural and environmentally respectful way possible, as was done before, without using chemicals to help lower costs. One of the main characteristics of vegetable tanned leather is that its pores are left open, allowing the leather to create a unique and beautiful patina over time.

Thanks to this environmentally friendly process, the leather obtains qualities that are unthinkable when using the chromium tanning process. We use a traditional vegetable tanning process done in a purely artisanal fashion. Our artisans use different natural tannins from plants like Acacia or Quebracho, using the bark, branches, leaves, and in some cases, the fruit from these plants. The centuries-old formula of just how much of each tannin to use is the best kept secret of this process and gets passed down from generation to generation. The vegetable tanning process takes between one and two months opposed to the 1-day chrome tanning process.

Leather Tanning: The Steps

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01 VEGETABLE TANNINS

One of our secrets lies on the exquisite selection of tannin extracts from trees like Acacia, Quebracho or Mimosa.

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02 TANNING PROCESS

Following the same liturgy as they have been doing it for hundreds of years, they place the leather, the tannins and the water into a giant wooden barrel which they keep spinning around for 3-4 weeks, which is the time needed to tan this type of leather.

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03 DRAINING

Once the leather is tanned, they remove it from the barrels and they press out the spare water.

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04 DRYING PROCESS

Once the leather is drained, they hang it in breezy dryers with wind currents generated by the mountain breeze. The drying phase ends after 5-7 days, depending on the existent weather.

Reducing-leather-thickness-process
05 REDUCING THICKNESS

In this process the leather gets divided and reduced in terms of thickness with a really sharp blade.

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06 CONDITIONERS /WAXES

One of the last processes consists in giving protection and durability to the leather. With a mixture of olive oil and beeswax made by our artisans, they create a layer on the leather to protect it and to improve its condition.

Leather-polish-process
07 POLISH

Depending on the type of finish chosen for each leather, they will use one technique or another. One of the most special processes is to get a final shine polished, obtained by rubbing a special piece of round glass on the leather.

OUR LEATHER: KINDS

LAMB LEATHER

Our finest and smoothest leather. This leather is the most pleasant to touch, and we mainly use it for our gloves because of its amazing characteristics. Elastic and resistant, it normally comes in mate and natural tones. The touch and feel it is absolutely indescribable.

DEERSKIN LEATHER

We use Nordic elk and North American deer leather. The softness, thickness and durability of this leather are unique. Elk is often called the king of the forest; a full-grown male can weight over 600 kg. Has been a part of Finnish wildlife since the Stone Age, and has an important role in the mythology of the nation.

COWHIDE LEATHER

This leather comes from the best cows from the North of Spain, the ‘gochonas’ and the ‘vaca rubia gallega’. These cows enjoy natural spots that can offer the best feeding for their growth, attaining extraordinary quality of leather.

CORDOVAN LEATHER

This leather comes from the horse, precisely from its back, oval and shell- shaped. The quantity of the leather that can be obtained is scarce, and its process can take up to six months. Its tanning is handcrafted and considered the most exclusive in the market.

Why Vegetable Tanned Leather?


The differences in the processes and the final products are important. The most known and controversial method of tanning, due to its popular widespread use by the fashion industry, is chrome tanning. Using chromium salts, which are very harmful not only to the environment, but also people, causes the pores of the leather to close resulting in a plastic-like, unnatural appearance. Despite these disadvantages, the chrome tanning industry accounts for more than 95% of the world’s leather production. This is mainly because the tanning process is much faster, cheaper, and have less of a need for raw materials. this process is incredibly more simply and requires less expertise.

At Café, we are passionate about quality raw material that is respectful to the environment, hence is why we prefer the exclusive and different: vegetable tanned leather. We are willing to pay the extra costs in order to be a sustainable company. Our leather is unique, as there is no one exactly like the other. The colors are always natural. As the time passes, the different shades will be taking an incredible personal patina due to keeping the pores open, allowing the leather to have more personality. In addition, due to the respectful tanning process, vegetable tanned leather has a longer life–superior to that of chrome tanned leather. However, there are truly no words to describe our vegetable tanned leather. It’s smell, it’s incredible touch, these are things that we are unfortunately unable to share with you through a screen, but we can promise you, this leather is special.

*FREE SHIPPING IN EU OVER 80€ | US OVER 120€.

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