Discovering the Richness of Colombia's Coffee Triangle: Unveiling the Best Coffee from Colombia
Are you ready to embark on a sensory journey through the tantalizing aroma and exquisite flavors of the best coffee from Colombia? Brace yourself as we delve into the lush and vibrant landscapes of Colombia's Coffee Triangle, where you'll discover the regions that produce this liquid gold. Join us as we explore the best coffee brands, navigate the bustling supermarkets of Medellin, and unveil the secrets of tasting the finest Colombian coffee. Prepare your taste buds for an unparalleled adventure as we uncover the essence of Colombia's coffee culture.
Exploring Colombia’s Coffee Triangle
If you're looking for new things to do in Colombia or searching for the finest coffee beans in the country, this guide will show you a unique cultural treat to add to your travel itinerary.
Observing how locals drink coffee in Colombia gives you insight into the cultural significance of this warm beverage for people of all ages and backgrounds.
Coffee Shops in Colombia
Colombia is home to numerous coffee shops. However, it's important to remember that most of the best coffee is exported. While coffee has always been a part of Colombia's culture and everyday life, the coffee movement has recently grown, with locals taking the time to learn about specialty coffee and its preparation.
As a result, some growers keep their best batches for local cafes. So, while you have plenty of options in cities like Bogotá and Medellín, it doesn't guarantee you'll get the best coffee.
Fortunately, smaller local coffee shops like Pergamino have gained popularity for offering exceptional coffee that many coffee lovers can't ignore. So, let's put aside the infamous Juan Valez for a moment and focus on where you should position yourself when visiting the coffee triangle.
Enjoy a delicious cup of Colombian coffee
Places to Learn About Coffee in Colombia
Let's start by exploring the regions where coffee grows in Colombia. The famous coffee triangle in the Colombia coffee region is made up of three departments:
- Antioquia – Known for traditional coffee towns like Jardin and Jercio
- Caldas – Part of the Paisa region and home to coffee towns like Manizales
- Quindío – Famous for the most successful coffee harvest in Colombian history
- Risaralda – Well-known for its high-quality coffee
It's worth noting that in 2011, this stretch of land, composed of small departments, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Take a Coffee Tour in Medellin
What are the Colombian coffee-growing regions?
Coffee is grown throughout Colombia, with five main coffee-growing areas and 19 sub-regions. To make it easier to understand, we divide them into four main areas: north, central north, central south, and east.
Read more about coffee regions in Colombia.
The Best Coffee Brands in Colombia
Now that you have a better understanding of coffee quality and where to buy it, let's take a look at the best coffee brands in Colombia.
Here are a few top brands to be aware of.
Café Juan Valdez
Juan Valdez is one of the most representative brands of Colombia. You can even find Juan Valdez coffee shops in the US!
Juan Valdez coffee is 100% Colombian and has a mild flavor that falls between acidic and sweet. They offer different varieties:
- Origin: Regional coffee from various parts of Colombia
- Special: Coffee grown on the Juan Valdez farm
- Premium: High-ranking coffee, some of the most exclusive in the store
- Instant coffee: Soluble instant coffee
Many people find that Juan Valdez coffee compares favorably to Starbucks coffee. While you can find Starbucks in Colombian cities like Medellín, Juan Valdez coffee offers a local alternative.
Courtesy of TripAdvisor
Café Quindio is grown in the national coffee park located in the Quindio department. It has sweet and fruity notes, a strong flavor and body, and is generally medium roasted.
In addition to their own line of organic, premium, and flavored coffee, Café Quindio offers a variety of desserts made from their artisanal coffee. Don't miss trying the arequipe or dulce de leche with coffee, or the blackberry and coffee jam on toast alongside your morning brew!
Café Sello Rojo
Moving away from premium coffee, Sello Rojo is a brand commonly found in Colombian kitchens. It offers good quality coffee at low prices and is comparable to Folger's in the US. With its strong flavor, aroma, and dark color, it's a bold choice for waking yourself up in the morning.
Best Supermarkets in Medellin to Buy Coffee
Courtesy of Revistapym
In Colombia, you can find ground or instant coffee at convenience stores near your hotel or Airbnb, as well as in larger stores.
If you're looking for a wide range of coffee types, from craft coffee to familiar brands like Starbucks, Carulla is one of the best places to shop. They offer coffee in various price ranges.
Other supermarkets where you can find a good selection of coffee for home brewing include:
- Colsubsidio: A supermarket with its own low-priced coffee brand
- Éxito: The Colombian version of Walmart, where you can even find French presses
- Olímpica: A large supermarket with aisles dedicated to coffee brands
- Jumbo: Another supermarket offering coffee bags of all types and sizes
Any of these options are great for picking up coffee to enjoy in your apartment, hotel room, or Airbnb.
Getting Around Coffee Towns in the Colombia Coffee Region
In most coffee towns in Colombia, the best way to get around is by jeep.
The jeeps, known as Willys, are the traditional means of transport for local coffee farmers to move their crops. They also serve as hop-on-hop-off taxi services for locals and tourists.
It's highly recommended to wear suitable footwear and dress in layers. While it can get hot during the day, evenings tend to be chilly in coffee towns. If you plan to stay overnight on a coffee farm or in higher mountain areas, bring extra layers to keep warm.
Good boots or hiking shoes are necessary, as coffee farms have wet and hilly walkways with muddy banks and frequent showers. These are the perfect conditions for growing the best coffee, so be prepared for the Colombia coffee region's unique environment.
There isn't a perfect time to visit the coffee region, but it's advisable to avoid Colombian holiday weekends, Christmas, and New Year's. During these periods, the region becomes busier and prices tend to rise.
Transport in the Colombia coffee region
What is the best coffee-growing region to visit in Colombia?
The most accessible coffee-growing region in Colombia is the Eje Cafetero, located in the center of the country. It's a group of several states, also known as departments. You might hear it referred to as the Coffee Axis or Coffee Triangle.
What will you find there?
Well, besides an abundance of coffee farms, you'll also discover charming towns, architecture influenced by coffee production, delicious and hearty food, coffee parks, vibrant wildlife, and friendly people.
Some of our favorite towns to explore in the region are Filandia, Salento, Pijao, Genova, and Marsella. When visiting coffee farms, you'll often rely on Jeep Willys and donkeys for transportation.
Sip a Cup of Homemade Colombian Coffee
Trying a coffee tasting experience in Colombia is half the fun of visiting this tropical country. However, sometimes you just want to get your hands on some good brews to try on your own!
So, which coffee will you choose? Juan Valdez or Café Quindio? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
If you enjoyed this story, consider supporting Medellin Living on Patreon!
How to Taste the Best Coffee in Colombia
Here are some tips for finding and tasting the best coffee in Colombia.
Remember that Colombia's unique landscape, cultivation practices, and specially selected coffee trees contribute to the exceptional quality of its coffee. The Arabica variety is most commonly consumed in Colombia, and its superior taste is hard to replicate elsewhere.
Even when taking Colombian coffee out of the country, it doesn't always taste as good as it does in Colombia. However, you can judge for yourself.
Here are some tips to increase your chances of enjoying superior coffee in Colombia:
- Look for organic coffee
- Avoid adding sugar or sweeteners
- Always ask for your coffee in a cup, not a paper one
- Avoid adding milk
- Let the coffee cool before drinking
- Ensure your coffee beans are freshly ground
- Ask which department the coffee was cultivated in
By following these suggestions, you'll increase your chances of savoring the best coffee Colombia has to offer.
In rare cases where specialty coffee is not readily available, some people even bring their own travel coffee makers to ensure they can enjoy a barista-style brew wherever they go.
Depending on your coffee preferences, you may find satisfaction in drinking Tinto, the coffee blend commonly consumed by locals. Tinto is a filter coffee blend that can be found almost everywhere in Colombia and is part of most people's daily routine.
Speciality Coffee served by a Barista in Risaralda
Now you have a better idea of what to expect when exploring the Colombia coffee region. The next question is, where will you begin? Whether you start in Bogotá and head to Salento and the Cocora Valley or begin your adventure in Medellín and head toward Jardin, you're sure to have a great time.
With so many things to do in Colombia, experiencing rural life is a must. Coffee is one of the country's most celebrated products, and visiting the coffee region will provide a unique and rewarding experience.
In conclusion, exploring Colombia's Coffee Triangle is truly a coffee lover's dream come true. From the picturesque coffee-growing regions to the delightful coffee brands and the best supermarkets in Medellin, the journey to find the perfect cup of Colombian coffee is filled with excitement and satisfaction. Whether you choose to visit the bustling coffee towns or sip a cup of homemade Colombian coffee, the experience is bound to be unforgettable. So, pack your bags and embark on a caffeine-fueled adventure to taste the best coffee in Colombia. You won't be disappointed!
Discover the unrivaled world of coffee grinding as we unveil the Wirecutter Favorites, guiding you towards finding the ultimate coffee grinder. Gain comprehensive insights, expert recommendations, and insider tips to elevate your coffee game to astonishing new heights. Unleash the true potential of your beans and embark on a flavor-packed journey like no other. Don't settle for anything less than perfection – let the ultimate coffee grinder be your key to unlocking the unparalleled richness and aroma of every brew.
Looking for the perfect coffee maker with grinder? Discover the ultimate guide to find the best one for you! We'll explore the advantages and disadvantages, along with our top picks, to help you make that perfect brew. Click here now!
Looking for the ultimate coffee experience? Discover the best single cup coffee makers with integrated grinders! Our comprehensive guide explores top-notch features, a detailed comparison, and even highlights the pros and cons. Elevate your mornings with the perfect brew in every cup. Click here now!
Discover the top burr coffee grinders of 2022 in our ultimate guide to choosing the best grinder for pour over. Elevate your coffee experience and achieve perfection with these expert-recommended options.