Experiencing the Excellence of High-Quality Coffees from Colombia
Are you a coffee lover always on the hunt for the best brew? Look no further, because this article is your ultimate guide to discovering the rich history, unique brewing methods, and exquisite flavors of High-Quality Coffees from Colombia. From the verdant hills of Huila to the captivating Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, we'll take you on a journey through Colombia's top coffee-growing regions, uncovering the secrets that make Colombian coffee so exceptional. Whether you're seeking the perfect souvenir or keen to support coffee growers, this article has it all. So, grab your favorite mug and get ready to indulge in the aromatic world of Colombian coffee!
History of Colombian Coffee
- The arrival of coffee in Colombia is credited to Jesuit Priests in the early 1700s. Initially, coffee cultivation was limited to the Northeast region, but it quickly spread as more families started growing it.
- The first export of Colombian coffee occurred in the early 1800s, with just 100 bags of green coffee being sent to the US. As global demand for coffee increased, so did Colombia's production.
- By 1912, coffee accounted for half of Colombia's total exports.
- In 1927, the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FNC) was established to oversee the coffee industry.
- In the 1950s, the FNC launched a successful marketing campaign featuring Juan Valdex, a fictional character who became the face of Colombian coffee worldwide.
- Today, Colombia is the third largest coffee producer in the world, with over 500,000 family farms specializing in high-quality Arabica beans.
Homemade Brewing Methods in Colombia
Despite Colombia's reputation for producing exceptional coffee, many Colombians prefer the convenience of instant coffee or ground coffee that can be prepared quickly.
Some locals opt for ground coffee, which is combined with boiling water and left to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, allowing the coffee residue to settle at the bottom of the container – similar to Turkish coffee in the United States.
Another popular brewing method in Colombia is the French press, which offers a balance between instant coffee and Turkish coffee. It involves using a pot with a press at the top to brew the coffee, resulting in a quicker brewing process and smoother texture compared to traditional methods.
Regardless of the brewing method chosen, the high quality of Colombian coffee ensures a flavorful and satisfying experience.
Huila, located in southern Colombia, is renowned for its medium-bodied coffee with vibrant acidity and hints of caramel and citrus. The unique flavor profile of Huila coffee is attributed to its cultivation at high altitudes.
Notable brands from Huila include:
- La Plata Huila Coffee – This brand produces single-origin coffee from the town of La Plata, Huila. Grown at high altitudes, their coffee offers a distinct flavor profile with notes of caramel, chocolate, and fruit.
- Pitalito Coffee – Pitalito Coffee is produced in the town of Pitalito, located in the heart of Huila. It is known for its bright acidity and fruity notes, making it a popular choice among specialty coffee enthusiasts.
- Cafetalera La Meseta – This brand is recognized for its commitment to sustainable farming practices and high-quality coffee. Their beans are grown in the La Meseta region of Huila and boast a well-balanced flavor profile with hints of chocolate and citrus.
- Nueva Lengua Coffee – Nueva Lengua Coffee is a small-batch roaster that specializes in single-origin coffee from Huila. Their beans are expertly roasted to highlight the unique flavors of each origin, resulting in delightful notes of fruit, chocolate, and caramel.
- Finca El Ocaso – Finca El Ocaso is a family-owned coffee farm situated in Huila. They produce single-origin coffee with a rich and full-bodied flavor, characterized by notes of chocolate, nuts, and fruit.
The Colombian Coffee Axis
Colombia ranks as the third largest coffee producer globally, surpassed only by Brazil and Vietnam. However, a significant portion of Colombian coffee brands originate from three specific departments, namely Caldas, Quindío, and Risaralda.
These departments produce distinct varieties of Colombian coffee beans. In Colombia, a department is similar to a state in the United States, with its own defining characteristics and geographic boundaries.
Despite occupying less than 2 percent of Colombia's land, these three departments account for the majority of coffee production in the country. They are also home to numerous renowned Colombian coffee roasters, serving as a source for premium South American coffee brands.
Situated in the Andes Cordillera Mountain range, these departments lie at elevations ranging from 4,400 to 7,000 feet above sea level.
The department of Caldas boasts a population of approximately one million, with over 90 percent identifying as either White or Mestizo (a combination of Spanish and American Indian heritage). The capital city of Caldas is Manizales, located in the central region. Numerous Colombian coffee brands grow their coffee beans in Caldas, contributing to its reputation as a coffee hub. Manizales is also renowned for its seven major universities, making it a center for higher education in the region.
Quindío is the smallest department in Colombia, but its fertile soil makes it ideal for coffee cultivation. The department gained recognition in 1954 during the "Bonanza Cafetera," the largest and most successful coffee bean harvest in Colombian history. Quindío is often considered the epicenter of the global coffee industry, producing highly respected coffee beans exported worldwide under various Colombian coffee brands.
Risaralda, like other Colombian departments, benefits from rich soil, which contributes to successful coffee bean production. The department's soil composition is the result of volcanic ash and igneous rocks from a nearby mountain that erupted thousands of years ago. Years of rainfall and natural processes have transformed these volcanic remnants into fertile soil, highly conducive to growing coffee beans. Risaralda officially became a separate department in 1966 after separating from Caldas.
Fields and mountains surrounding Medellin in the Antioquia department. Coffee from Antioquia is grown in volcanic soil, which contributes to it’s unique flavor. Image by Erik Magnus.
Located in the northwest part of Colombia, Antioquia is notable for its coffee with a medium to high acidity level, balanced body, and distinct notes of chocolate and fruit. Coffee cultivation in Antioquia benefits from the volcanic soil, which enhances the flavor profile of the beans. Several prominent coffee brands hail from Antioquia:
- Hacienda La Pradera – This coffee farm in the municipality of Fredonia produces well-balanced coffee with flavors of chocolate and nuts.
- Pergamino Café – Pergamino Café, a small-batch coffee roaster, sources its beans from Antioquia. Their coffee exhibits bright acidity, fruity notes, and a smooth finish.
- Café San Alberto – A family-owned coffee farm, Café San Alberto specializes in producing specialty coffee. Their beans from Antioquia offer a complex flavor profile with notes of fruit and chocolate.
- Amor Perfecto – Amor Perfecto is a coffee roaster and cafe that sources beans from various Colombian regions, including Antioquia. Their coffee boasts a well-balanced flavor profile with hints of caramel and nuts.
- Café Granja La Esperanza – This family-owned coffee farm in Antioquia produces specialty coffee with a complex flavor profile featuring notes of fruit, nuts, and chocolate.
What are coffee-growing regions?
When we discuss coffee, we often refer to specific regions where it is grown. So, what exactly are coffee-growing regions?
Simply put, coffee-growing regions are areas where coffee is cultivated. In Colombia, you will see the names of these regions displayed on bags of specialty coffee. These names correspond to the departments, which are equivalent to states or provinces. Some frequently encountered coffee-growing regions in Colombia include Quindío, Cundinamarca, Tolima, Nariño, Huila, Santander, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and Antioquia. To learn more about coffee-growing regions, you can refer to our detailed article here.
What is panela?
Panela is a raw and unrefined form of sugar that is popular throughout Latin America. It goes by different names in each country, such as chancaca, piloncillo, or rapadura.
The production of panela involves pressing sugarcane to extract its juice, which is then boiled down and evaporated. The resulting semi-liquid substance is molded into blocks and dried. Panela can be served grated or in powdered form.
It is important to note that panela is not the same as brown sugar, which is white sugar mixed with molasses. Panela represents the most unrefined form of cane sugar and boasts a unique flavor profile.
The taste of panela can vary depending on factors such as the soil in which the sugar cane was grown, the production process, and the packaging. It can range from mild and caramel-like to fruity, floral, or pungent.
Panela is commonly used in Colombia and can be enjoyed in various ways. It adds a distinctive flavor to desserts, jams, or tea. While it may not be suitable for everyone's coffee preferences, it is certainly worth trying. Consider taking home panela candies or blocks as a souvenir, but be cautious when handling the hard blocks to avoid any knife injuries.
What makes a good Colombian coffee souvenir?
Colombian coffee is renowned for its high quality, thanks to favorable growing conditions at elevations ranging from 900 to over 2,100 meters (3,000 to over 6,000 feet) above sea level. With nearly 500,000 coffee growers producing some of the finest coffee globally, Colombian coffee makes for an excellent artisan gift.
When looking for coffee souvenirs in Colombia, there is more to explore beyond bags of coffee found in supermarkets. Consider visiting coffee shops, farmers markets, outdoor fairs, or specialized stores to find unique coffee-related items, such as:
- Colombian coffee varieties
- Colador brewing methods
- Coffee brewing equipment
- Coffee cups
- Chocolate-covered coffee beans
- Coffee-flavored cookies
- Coffee candies, like the ones available here
- Coffee-themed books, such as Permission to Slurp
For a more immersive experience, consider participating in the virtual Colombian Coffee Workshop to learn about the country's coffee culture and cultivation. This workshop is an excellent way to prepare for a visit to Colombia or share your Colombian coffee knowledge with loved ones back home.
Is Colombian coffee expensive?
Yes, Colombian coffee tends to be relatively expensive compared to other varieties. Several factors contribute to its higher cost:
Firstly, Colombian coffee is predominantly made from the Arabica coffee species, which is known for its higher quality but is more challenging to cultivate. This cultivation complexity translates into higher production costs.
Additionally, coffee in Colombia is grown on small farms situated on steep mountain slopes. As a result, the harvesting process relies on manual labor, as machinery cannot access these steep terrains. Transportation of the coffee from farms to the market often involves donkeys due to the challenging terrain.
Moreover, the Colombian coffee brand is safeguarded by organizations like the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FNC) and Fedecafé. Their commitment to maintaining high quality and protecting the coffee's reputation leads to a premium in the stock market.
Despite the higher price tag, Colombian coffee is often considered worth the expense due to its exceptional quality and unique flavor profiles.
Luis Alfonso picking coffee - Photo credit Nespresso
Should I buy Colombian coffee in a supermarket?
In our opinion, it is not advisable to purchase coffee from most supermarkets. The freshness of coffee is crucial, just like bread. You wouldn't want to consume bread that is several months old, would you? The same applies to coffee.
Supermarket offerings often consist of coffee that is months old, compromising its flavor and quality. To ensure the freshest coffee possible, it is recommended to buy directly from coffee shops or reputable roasters. Online platforms also offer convenience for purchasing fresh coffee from trusted sources.
What coffee shops should I visit in Bogota?
Bogota has experienced a surge in specialty coffee shops in recent years, offering coffee enthusiasts a wide range of options to explore. While the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on these establishments, many coffee shops in Bogota have managed to remain open and continue serving customers.
Discovering excellent coffee in Bogota requires some effort and willingness to venture to different areas. However, the experience is well worth it. To assist you in your coffee exploration, we have compiled a list of coffee shops to visit in Bogota. You can find the list here.
Where can I learn about Colombian coffee?
At Flavors of Bogota, we provide various free resources that offer valuable insight into Colombian coffee. Additionally, our Specialty Coffee Experiences can guide you to some of the best coffee shops in Colombia, allowing you to learn more about:
- Colombian coffee consumption habits
- The history of coffee in Colombia
- The cultural and societal impact of coffee in Colombia
- How your coffee purchases can support Colombian coffee growers
For an in-depth understanding of Colombian coffee, consider enrolling in our Colombian Coffee Workshop. This online course provides comprehensive knowledge and prepares you to appreciate the best coffee Colombia has to offer. We also offer coffee courses for enthusiasts and professionals in the coffee industry. Discover more about the Latin American Coffee Academy courses here.
What is the most recommended coffee-growing region to visit in Colombia?
One highly recommended coffee-growing region to visit in Colombia is the Eje Cafetero, also known as the Coffee Axis or Coffee Triangle. Situated in the central part of the country, it consists of several states or departments. Besides being famous for its coffee production, this region offers much more to explore and experience.
In addition to the abundance of coffee farms, you'll discover charming and picturesque towns with architectural styles influenced by the coffee industry. These towns, such as Filandia, Salento, Pijao, Genova, and Marsella, provide a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region. You'll also encounter delicious and hearty traditional cuisine, coffee parks, and a diverse range of wildlife.
To navigate the region and reach the coffee farms, a popular mode of transportation is the iconic Jeep Willys or traditional donkeys. These means of transportation add to the unique charm and authenticity of the experience.
If you're passionate about coffee and want to immerse yourself in the world of Colombian coffee production, the Eje Cafetero is the ideal destination. It offers a perfect blend of breathtaking natural beauty, cultural richness, and of course, extraordinary coffee.
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Located in the northern part of Colombia, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region is home to some of the highest coffee farms in the world. The coffee cultivated in this region possesses a unique flavor profile characterized by citrusy notes and subtle spices. This extraordinary taste is a result of the region's distinctive microclimate.
Here are some of the most renowned coffee brands hailing from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta:
- La Palma y El Tucán – Situated in the municipality of Zipacón, La Palma y El Tucán is not only a coffee farm but also a processing facility. Their coffee boasts a one-of-a-kind flavor profile with hints of fruit, nuts, and chocolate.
- El Jordan Coffee – El Jordan Coffee is a family-owned coffee farm that specializes in producing specialty coffee. Their beans from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region offer a well-balanced taste with notes of caramel and chocolate.
- Mincafé – Mincafé is a cooperative composed of small-scale coffee farmers dedicated to cultivating coffee in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Grown at high altitudes, their coffee displays a unique flavor profile characterized by citrusy and floral tones.
- Buena Vista Coffee – Hailing from the municipality of Ciénaga, Buena Vista Coffee is a single-origin coffee brand. Their beans from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region possess a well-balanced taste with notes of caramel and nuts.
- Tayronaca – Located in the municipality of Santa Marta, Tayronaca is both a coffee farm and a processing facility. Their coffee offers a rich and full-bodied flavor profile, enriched with hints of chocolate and nuts.
Should I really slurp Colombian coffee?
Your initial reaction might be to dismiss the idea of slurping coffee, but let us provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the benefits. In our article and accompanying video titled "Why you Should Slurp Coffee," we aim to address the following questions:
- Is there any value in slurping coffee?
- Who are the coffee enthusiasts that employ this method?
- What exactly does coffee slurping entail?
- What are the consequences if you choose not to slurp your coffee?
- How can you successfully engage in the coffee slurping process?
By delving into these questions, we hope to provide you with a fuller understanding of the benefits and significance of coffee slurping. It's an exploration of the intricacies of coffee appreciation that showcases the attention to detail and passion that goes into every cup.
Slurping coffee. Photo by Pixel Perfect PH for Flavors of Bogota.
What can I do to support coffee growers and their livelihoods?
Sustainability is a crucial aspect that concerns all participants in the coffee supply chain, regardless of their roles or positions. This isn't solely the responsibility of the Chief Sustainability Officer or sustainability teams but extends to every individual, from casual coffee drinkers to CEOs of major coffee companies.
Why is sustainability essential?
Because it aligns with our shared values of caring for the planet and its inhabitants. It reflects our commitment to treat one another with compassion and fairness.
Sadly, the current state of the coffee industry often perpetuates the exploitation of individuals working in coffee production, especially the hardworking growers responsible for cultivating and processing the coffee beans. To combat this, it's vital to educate ourselves about coffee sustainability and discover ways to contribute and make a positive impact.
Wondering how specialty coffee can create hope? Explore the article "Colombia: Where Hope Smells Like Coffee Beans" to understand the transformative power of specialty coffee and its potential in generating hope for coffee-growing communities.
Quindío - The Finest Coffee in Colombia - Writer’s Choice #2
When it comes to exceptional coffee in Colombia, Quindío stands out as a top choice. Situated in the central part of the country, this region produces coffee with a medium body, bright acidity, and exquisite flavors of chocolate and caramel. The volcanic soil in which Quindío coffee is cultivated contributes to its distinctive taste.
Here are some of the most outstanding coffee brands from Quindío:
- Café Quindío – Sourcing its beans from various regions within Quindío, Café Quindío is a renowned coffee roaster. Their coffee boasts a well-balanced flavor profile with delightful notes of chocolate and nuts.
- Finca El Paraiso – Located in the municipality of Buenavista, Finca El Paraiso is both a coffee farm and roastery. Their coffee exhibits bright acidity and floral notes, culminating in a caramel finish.
- Café San Alberto – A gem among coffee farms, Café San Alberto is a family-owned establishment specializing in producing specialty coffee. Their beans offer a complex flavor profile characterized by a harmonious fusion of fruit and chocolate.
- Café Jesús Martín – Sourcing beans from various regions in Colombia, including Quindío, Café Jesús Martín is a prominent coffee roaster. Their coffee delivers a well-balanced taste with delightful notes of chocolate and nuts.
- Finca La Joya – Situated in the municipality of Montenegro, Finca La Joya is both a coffee farm and roastery. Their coffee features a rich, full-bodied flavor profile with hints of dark chocolate and red fruits.
Brands that Proudly Represent Colombia
Colombia's coffee beans rival those of any other country in the world. Identifying top Colombian coffee brands is a relatively easy task, thanks to their exceptional quality and reputation.
Furthermore, many of these brands participate in fair trade agreements with the Colombian government. By choosing these brands, you are not only indulging in a delightful cup of coffee but also supporting the Colombian coffee industry and ensuring that the country's infrastructure is well-maintained through responsible commerce.
CoffeeCrazy Premium USDA Organic
SHOP LIKE CRAZY
First and foremost, let us tell you that this coffee is simply incredible! Don't just take our word for it, though. Major review sites like Amazon have received over 200 reviews, with an astounding 96% of reviewers awarding 4 or 5 out of 5 stars. Such high ratings are exceptionally rare for a product that revolves around personal taste.
Typically, for a subjective product like coffee, negative reviews usually account for around 10%. However, CoffeeCrazy defies this trend with overwhelming positive ratings.
Grown organically, these Colombian Arabica coffee beans are medium to light roasted. Interestingly, opinions about their roast level vary among reviewers. Some individuals who prefer dark roasts consider CoffeeCrazy to be on the lighter side of medium, while those who favor light roasts describe them as medium to dark. Despite these differences, reviewers unanimously agree that the beans fall within the medium roast spectrum and give them a perfect 5-star rating for taste, regardless of their roast preferences.
We are also thrilled to support Colombian coffee brands that are Fair Trade certified.
Cafe Don Pablo Colombian Supremo
Cafe Don Pablo brings you an exquisite collection of medium to dark roasted Colombian coffee beans. This brand enjoys enormous popularity, evident in its significant presence and praise on Amazon. With nearly 500 reviews, one can only imagine the number of satisfied customers who have chosen not to leave feedback.
The taste of Café Don Pablo Colombian Supremo is described as rich yet free from bitterness, culminating in a smooth and mellow aftertaste. Some reviewers highlight its clean and smooth characteristics, devoid of any acidic notes. Many agree that these high-quality coffee beans rival the more expensive options available in the market, attesting to their exceptional value for money. Don Pablo is a brand that consistently stands out among reviewers, and our research confirms that the reviews reflect genuine feedback from actual buyers, contrasting with other sellers who rely on fabricated or purchased reviews to boost their ratings.
100% Colombian Supremo Coffee, Fresh Roasted Coffee
Fresh Roasted Coffee brings you their 100% Colombian Supremo Coffee, brewed from beans roasted to perfection using a medium roast technique. To ensure environmental responsibility, Fresh Roasted Coffee employs a special roasting machine equipped with state-of-the-art hybrid air drum roasting technology. This investment has resulted in an 80% reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions.
The 100% Colombian Supremo beans offer a cupping experience that is marked by delightful notes of caramel, honey, milk chocolate, and cherry. Reading through the reviews, a common theme emerges: many customers have purchased this coffee repeatedly, continuously returning to Colombian coffee brands such as this one.
Moreover, the product impresses with its roasted date, a feature appreciated by numerous reviewers who chose next-day shipping, as the roast date aligns with the shipping date for optimal freshness.
Koffee Kult – Medium Roast Coffee Beans
Koffee Kult is a hidden gem among Colombian coffee brands that has gained popularity through recommendations and positive mentions as an alternative choice. Although it may not surface prominently in search engine results, it holds a special place in the hearts of coffee enthusiasts.
Featuring a smooth and rich medium roast, Koffee Kult's coffee beans offer a full-bodied taste that captivates the palate. Some aficionados even find that the flavor richness makes these beans exceptionally suitable for making espresso, despite the preference for darker roasts in traditional espresso. This further exemplifies the depth and richness of the coffee derived from these beans.
First Colony Organic Whole Bean Coffee, Colombian Santa Marta
First Colony presents the Organic Whole Bean Coffee, made from the finest Colombian Santa Marta coffee beans. These beans are USDA Organic certified, ensuring their adherence to organic standards and sustainability. Moreover, White Coffee Corp., boasting over 75 years of experience, handles the roasting process for these beans.
The Arabica Santa Marta beans are subjected to a medium roast, resulting in a delightful aroma and flavor. Reviewers rave about the absence of bitterness and the deep, rich, almost chocolaty taste. Furthermore, the affordability of these beans compared to other organic options garners praise among customers.
Tolima, located in central Colombia, presents a unique combination of rice and coffee plantations. This department produces coffee with a medium body and a distinctive floral aroma, complemented by a slightly nutty taste. The volcanic soil in which the coffee is grown adds to its exceptional flavor profile. Here are some of the best coffee brands from Tolima:
- Planadas Coffee – Planadas Coffee is a single-origin brand cultivated and produced exclusively in the Planadas municipality of Tolima. Their coffee boasts a smooth and well-balanced flavor profile with delightful notes of chocolate and caramel.
- Cafetalera La Pradera – Cafetalera La Pradera is a family-owned coffee farm specializing in single-origin coffee from Tolima. Their coffee exhibits a unique flavor profile characterized by notes of fruit, nuts, and chocolate.
- La Chapolera Coffee – La Chapolera Coffee is a small-batch coffee roaster sourcing their beans from Tolima. Their coffee features a bright acidity and fruity notes, with a smooth finish.
- El Jordán Coffee – El Jordán Coffee is a cooperative of small-scale coffee farmers in Tolima. Their coffee, grown at high altitudes, offers a unique flavor profile with delightful notes of fruit, chocolate, and nuts.
- San Sebastián Coffee – San Sebastián Coffee is a family-owned coffee farm specializing in producing specialty coffee in Tolima. Their coffee presents a well-balanced flavor profile with delightful notes of caramel and chocolate.
Nariño, located in the southwestern part of Colombia, distinguishes itself with its full-bodied coffee renowned for its bright acidity and delectable notes of chocolate and berries. Grown at high altitudes in the Andes Mountains, Nariño coffee truly captures the unique flavors of the region. Here are some of the best coffee brands from Nariño:
- Buesaco Coffee – Buesaco Coffee is a single-origin brand originating from the Buesaco municipality in Nariño. Their coffee features a unique flavor profile defined by notes of chocolate, fruit, and nuts.
- Café de Altura Inga – Café de Altura Inga is a cooperative formed by small-scale coffee farmers in Nariño. Their coffee, grown at high altitudes, offers a unique flavor profile characterized by notes of citrus, caramel, and chocolate.
- La Victoria Coffee – La Victoria Coffee is a family-owned coffee farm producing specialty coffee in Nariño. Their coffee exhibits a well-balanced flavor profile with delightful notes of fruit and nuts.
- Café San Agustín – Café San Agustín is a single-origin coffee brand from the San Agustín municipality in Nariño. Their coffee presents a rich and full-bodied flavor profile, enriched with notes of chocolate and nuts.
- El Obraje Coffee – El Obraje Coffee is a small-batch coffee roaster sourcing their beans from Nariño. Their coffee showcases a bright acidity and fruity notes, with a smooth finish.
Berries at different stages of ripeness on a branch in the Zona Cafetera. Image by Andres Hernandez.
Caldas, situated in central Colombia, produces coffee renowned for its medium body, bright acidity, and delightful notes of caramel and fruit. The mountainous terrain of Caldas contributes to the unique flavor profile of its coffee. Below are some of the top coffee brands from Caldas:
- Café de Altura Los Nevados – Located in the municipality of Chinchiná, Café de Altura Los Nevados operates as both a coffee farm and roastery. Their coffee offers a well-balanced flavor profile with delightful notes of caramel and nuts.
- Café San Alberto – Café San Alberto is a family-owned coffee farm specializing in producing specialty coffee in Caldas. Their coffee features a complex flavor profile with delightful notes of fruit and chocolate.
- Amor Perfecto – Amor Perfecto is a coffee roaster and cafe sourcing their beans from various regions in Colombia, including Caldas. Their coffee presents a well-balanced flavor profile with delightful notes of caramel and nuts.
- El Hato Coffee – El Hato Coffee is a family-owned coffee farm producing specialty coffee in Caldas. Their coffee boasts a unique flavor profile with delightful notes of berries and citrus.
- Café Jesús Martín – Café Jesús Martín is a coffee roaster sourcing their beans from various regions in Colombia, including Caldas. Their coffee delivers a well-balanced taste with delightful notes of chocolate and nuts.
For a coffee farm tour in Caldas, we recommend checking out the "Hacienda Venecia Coffee Farm Experience" located in Manizales, Colombia!
Cauca, located in the western part of Colombia, is renowned for producing coffee with a full-bodied taste and a sweet, nutty flavor. The coffee grown in Cauca benefits from the fertile soil and has a low acidity level, which makes it incredibly enjoyable to drink. Some of the top coffee brands from the Cauca region include:
- Café Mesa de los Santos – Café Mesa de los Santos is a single-origin coffee brand cultivated and produced in the municipality of Piendamó in Cauca. This coffee is characterized by its smooth and well-balanced flavor profile, featuring delightful hints of caramel and chocolate.
- Café Granja La Esperanza – Café Granja La Esperanza is a family-owned coffee farm located in Cauca that specializes in producing specialty coffee. Their coffee offers a complex flavor profile with enticing notes of fruit, nuts, and chocolate.
- Café Monteverde – Café Monteverde is a cooperative of small-scale coffee farmers in Cauca. Grown at high altitudes, their coffee possesses a distinctive flavor profile with refreshing citrus and floral tones.
- Pergamino Café – Pergamino Café is a small-batch coffee roaster that sources its beans from Cauca. Their coffee is characterized by its bright acidity, fruity notes, and smooth finish.
- Café Azahar – Café Azahar is a single-origin coffee brand from the municipality of Argelia in Cauca. This coffee offers a well-balanced flavor profile with delightful hints of chocolate and caramel.
How can I order coffee in Colombia?
When you visit Colombia, you'll find that coffee is readily available everywhere. Whether you're visiting a friend or strolling down the street, you'll hear the familiar question, "¿Quieres un tintico?" (Would you like a little coffee?). This is one of the most common phrases you'll encounter in Colombia.
In Colombia, there are several ways to order your coffee:
- The most straightforward way is to say, "Quiero un café" (I want a coffee).
- A more polite way is to say, "Me puede dar un café?" (Could you give me a coffee?).
- In a more distinctly Colombian manner, you can say, "Vecino, ¿me regala un tinto?" (Neighbor, can I have a black coffee?).
And of course, adding the phrase "por favor" (please) and a smile to your request will always ensure a smile in return.
Learn how to order an espresso-based drink in Colombia.
Is Tinto considered good coffee?
Tinto, the Colombian term for black coffee, holds a significant place in the hearts of Colombians. You can find tinto on every street corner in cities, every coffee farm, and it is served every morning when you stay with a Colombian friend, at a hotel, or in a hostel.
Generally, tinto is served in small-sized cups and often comes sweetened.
The quality of tinto can vary greatly depending on where you get it.
Along the coast, you might order a tinto and end up with instant coffee, which doesn't provide the best experience.
At a nice restaurant, you can expect a balanced tinto with a natural sweetness and a hint of chocolate.
If you're lucky, your friend's grandmother might be known as the best tinto-maker in the city, and you'll delight in every sip of the small cup of hot coffee, grateful for the opportunity to experience it in Colombia.
On the street, if you buy it from a vendor selling it from a thermos, you might come across tinto that tastes like ashes, fish, or butter - whatever happened to be in their kitchen when they made the coffee. It is recommended to try it only for the cultural experience or during desperate times.
At a Colombian bakery, tinto can be sweet, comforting, and warm like home.
It's important to note that Colombians in general do not consume the highest quality coffee, which is exported. Additionally, coffee in Colombia is often over-roasted, brewed with boiling water (resulting in a bitter taste), or flavored with spices or fruit.
Roasty Rankings: Our Recommendations for the Best Colombian Coffee
Alright, Roasty readers, the time has come to dive into our buying guide.
We've done extensive research to find the best coffee beans sold by specialty roasters and Colombian coffee brands. Our hope is that this information will assist you in finding the perfect joe for sipping a piping hot mug of drip coffee in the morning or enjoying your afternoon cold brews.
Good Citizen Coffee Co. – Estate La Esperanza
Good Citizen Coffee Co. - Estate La Esperanza
This coffee from Good Citizen Coffee Co. is an absolute delight. Formerly known as Stay Golden Coffee Co., this Nashville-based roaster appeals to all kinds of coffee enthusiasts while championing biodiversity and establishing genuine relationships with farmers.
Rigoberto and Luis Herrera, the growers behind Good Citizen's Colombian beans, cultivate their crops at Cafe Granja La Esperanza. This medium roast features a buttery smooth flavor with tasting notes reminiscent of chardonnay and panela.
SPARROWS COFFEE – JOVEN CAUCA
SPARROWS COFFEE - JOVEN CAUCA
Produced by the Cafinorte co-op's Young Coffee Producers Program, this coffee showcases a smooth body and comforting flavors of chocolate with a touch of cherry cola. It's a truly enjoyable cup.
We're torn between the impressive nature of this medium roast coffee blend from Sparrows Coffee. On one hand, it's selected by the world's youngest Q grader and produced by the Cafinorte Co-op's Young Coffee Producers Program. On the other hand, it tastes like spring in a cup, with hints of citrus, marmalade, violet, and chocolate intertwining with each sip.
Steady State – Magdalena
Steady State - Magdalena
Steady State's Magdalena coffee brings a taste of summertime to your cup. With its vibrant packaging and delightful notes of panela, orange blossom, and caramel, it's hard not to feel the sunshine and warmer weather with each sip.
This medium roast comes from smallholder producers in Cauca, Colombia, and perfectly captures the taste profiles of the Pitalito region. So, if you're curious about Pitalito joe, Steady State's Magdalena is an excellent starting point.
Panther Coffee – Mejor
Panther Coffee - Mejor
Time for a Spanish lesson, Roasty readers. "Mejor" translates to "best," and Panther Coffee's Colombian beans certainly live up to that name. Although we can't definitively say if it's the absolute best, we can certainly vouch for its delectable taste.
This blend boasts cherry, sweet chocolate, and tangy citrus notes sourced from smallholder producers in Cauca, Colombia. When brewed, it offers bold flavor and lingering sweetness. Plus, Panther Coffee partners with Coffee for Peace, ensuring premium payment to Colombian farmers and the ability to savor the best beans from Cauca's coffee plantations.
Portland Coffee Roasters – Colombia
Portland Coffee Roasters - Colombia
If you're searching for quality coffee beans to brew in your trusty Chemex, look no further than Portland Coffee Roasters' Colombia joe.
These beans, grown near Quindio on the western side of the Central Andes, offer notes of wild berry and sugar cane. Lightly roasted in Carlsbad, California, this coffee delivers a taste that's reminiscent of berries and tropical fruits. Sip on this single-origin brew, and you'll feel transported by vacation vibes, even during your daily commute.
Please note that this product is available in whole bean form only. You will need a separate coffee grinder if you choose to purchase these Colombian beans.
Temple Coffee Roasters – Colombia Geiner Vasquez
Temple Coffee Roasters - Colombia Geiner Vasquez
These Colombia Geiner Vasquez beans from Temple Coffee Roasters are bursting with fruity flavors. Drinking a mug of this medium roast feels almost like having your daily serving of fruit!
These beans are named after producer Geiner Montano Vasquez and offer delightful apricot, citrus, and walnut notes with every sip. The resulting cup is clean, balanced, and downright delicious.
Portrait Coffee – Double Double
Portrait Coffee - Double Double
Portrait Coffee's Double Double offers a rich and cozy body accompanied by slightly roasty flavors. With aromatic hints of citrus and delightful chocolaty sweetness, this coffee delivers a fantastic experience.
Fresh Roasted Coffee – Dark Colombian Supremo
This medium-dark to dark roast Colombian bean diverges from the traditional flavor and opts for earthier, more complex flavors.
The primary tasting notes feature cherries complemented by a subtle honey-toned sweetness. This medium-bodied brew offers a thick mouthfeel, making it a unique choice among Colombian coffee options.
Juan Valdez – Organic Gourmet Medium Roast
Juan Valdez is a fictional farmer whose face and logo are associated with excellent-quality Colombian beans and the namesake of this Colombian-based company.
With a wide range of products from various growing regions in the country, Juan Valdez offers gourmet, sustainable, and premium coffee lines, ensuring there's something for everyone's morning brew.
We want to highlight the brand's bestselling certified organic coffee. It holds USDA-certified organic, Japanese Agricultural Organic Standard (JAS) approval, and EU Organic certifications.
These medium-roasted beans have a mild and pleasant acidity that works perfectly as a smooth breakfast coffee. However, if you prefer a more intense flavor, consider trying Juan Valdez's Bold option.
Cubico Coffee – Nariño Coffee
As its name suggests, Cubico Coffee's Nariño Coffee hails from coffee growers in Nariño, a region that is one-third of the new Colombian triangle, known for producing exceptional specialty coffee.
These beans thrive in the rich, volcanic soil at high altitudes, resulting in an incredible taste experience. This Colombian brew offers a smooth mouthfeel, powerful citrusy aroma, and a flavor profile characterized by notes of lemon, lime, and maple brown sugar sweetness, culminating in a smooth finish.
Volcanica Coffee – Colombia Supremo Andeano Estate Coffee
Volcanica Coffee's medium roast beans come from a coffee estate in the Andes mountain range. This location offers optimal altitudes for growing high-quality beans, resulting in a brew that truly stands out.
This single-origin coffee exemplifies the outstanding taste and sustainability associated with Volcanica Coffee and its love for Colombian beans. Brew a cup of this smooth, balanced, and light-bodied coffee, and savor its delightful notes of fruit, nuts, and dark chocolate.
For those who prefer earthier flavors, Volcanica offers Colombian peaberry beans, packed with malt, walnut, wood, and cherry-toned chocolate flavor profiles.
Koffee Kult – Huíla Coffee
Similar to Nariño, Huíla is one-third of the new Colombian triangle, known for producing top-notch specialty coffee. Koffee Kult's Huíla coffee perfectly exemplifies the exceptional quality found in this region.
This brew greets you with an intense, chocolatey aroma, and delights your taste buds with notes of caramel, chocolate, and cherry. In comparison to typical Colombian coffee, Huíla coffee offers a milder acidity, resulting in a clean and sweet cup.
Peet's Coffee – Luminosa Breakfast Blend
Peet's Coffee made our list of best Colombian coffees for a couple of reasons. However, it's essential to note that this blend comprises Colombian and Ethiopian beans. If you prefer single-origin coffee, this may not be your ideal choice.
Nevertheless, Peet's Luminosa Breakfast Blend offers an excellent option for anyone interested in trying high-quality Colombian coffee without the premium price tag. The mildly pleasant brew delights your senses with a floral aroma from the Ethiopian beans and a sweet taste featuring passionflower and stone fruit notes.
This light roast is perfect for those who enjoy delicate flavor profiles and bright acidity.
Java Planet – Colombia Organic
If you value sustainability in your coffee, Java Planet's single-origin Colombian beans are the perfect choice. These beans are USDA-certified organic, Fair Trade-certified, and Rainforest Alliance Certified, ensuring both a guilt-free and flavorful coffee experience.
Once brewed using a pour-over method, these medium-dark beans create a well-balanced cup of coffee with delightful notes of nuts and cherries. Offering a classic Colombian taste with a gentle touch, Java Planet's Colombia Organic coffee is truly worth trying.
Grading of Colombian Coffee
Colombian coffee is categorized based on the size of the bean rather than its quality. The idea behind this grading system is that larger beans offer more flavor. The highest grade of Colombian coffee is called Supremo, consisting of only the largest beans. There is also a second grade called Excelso, which comprises slightly smaller beans.
When purchasing coffee labeled under these grades, it's important to be aware that they are most likely blends of coffee from various farms. However, with the rise of the specialty coffee movement, more single-origin coffees have become available. If you're specifically seeking single-origin coffee, look for a distinct place of origin rather than focusing solely on bean size.
One notable name that you may have come across is Don Pablo. This company, which has been owned by a family since 2004, has thrived in the industry and has an impressive collection of Colombian coffee offerings.
Don Pablo takes pride in importing the top 1% of Arabica beans from Latin America, a remarkable achievement considering their substantial production.
In terms of convenience, Don Pablo offers a range of decaffeinated options, single-serve options, and coffee-related products like hot cocoa.
Our Top Coffee Recommendation: Don Pablo Gustavo’s Reserve Colombian Estate
When a bag of coffee is crafted by a coffee-growing family with generations of experience, you can be sure it will be a delightful experience. Gustavo’s Reserve Colombian Estate is a celebration of hard work and exceptional flavors.
This medium-dark roasted blend offers a rich combination of cocoa, banana, and citrus notes. Its chocolate-forward profile makes it a perfect companion for any type of milk, be it dairy or oat.
We Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who:
- Want a selection of Colombian coffee options
- Are interested in both decaffeinated and caffeinated options
- Prefer low-acid, organic, and convenient coffee varieties
We Don’t Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who:
- Prefer Kosher Certified coffee
Colombia Coffee Roasters
With a name like Colombia Coffee Roasters, it's clear where their focus lies. This roaster dedicates the majority of its portfolio to coffee sourced from Colombia.
Their coffee is made exclusively with 100% Arabica beans, known for their delicate flavors and lower caffeine content. Furthermore, apart from high-quality coffee, Colombia Coffee Roasters also offers artisan chocolates, brewing equipment, and merchandise.
For those who enjoy their products, subscribing to their model can lead to cost savings on future orders.
Our Top Coffee Recommendation: Colombia – Finca El Porvenir – (Red Honey)
The red honey process involves leaving some of the cherry fruit's mucilage on the coffee seed. The amount left determines whether it's considered black, red, or yellow honey.
This remarkable blend offers a bold, fruity flavor and a creamy body, making it perfect for espresso or black coffee.
We Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who:
- Prefer a roaster specializing in Colombian coffee
- Are curious about different coffee processes, such as honey and washed
- Would like to try related products like chocolate
We Don’t Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who:
- Want to explore coffee origins outside of Colombia
Volcanica Coffee is a brand we've covered before, and we're pleased to revisit it. With a wide array of offerings spanning multiple origins, including a significant Colombian selection, Volcanica Coffee has become a prominent name in the industry.
Originating in Costa Rica, Volcanica Coffee expanded its range to include origins throughout the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean.
The brand's name reflects its commitment to sourcing coffee from volcanic regions known for producing exceptional yields.
Volcanica Coffee also ensures that they provide Kosher Certified options.
Our Top Coffee Recommendation: Colombian Geisha
This particular coffee comes with a higher price tag, and it's well-deserved. Geisha coffee consistently earns high ratings in specialty coffee grading due to its unparalleled subtlety and unique flavors.
Roasted light to preserve its delicate floral and tropical fruit notes, this specialty coffee is a true delight.
We Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who:
- Want to explore the depths of specialty coffee knowledge
- Want a selection of Colombian coffee options
- Require Kosher Certified options
We Don’t Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who:
- Want exclusive Colombian coffee origins
Colombia's coffee stands out due to its almost exclusive use of wet processing. This method involves removing the fruit covering the beans before the coffee is dried. Wet-processed coffee typically has a bright, fruity, and clean profile with higher acidity.
While exploring single-origin Colombian coffee is a must for any coffee enthusiast, blends shouldn't be overlooked. Cubico Coffee embraces the creativity of coffee blends with its impressive portfolio.
Their blends draw from various origins such as Brazil, El Salvador, and of course, Colombia. Cubico Coffee takes pride in producing balanced and unique flavors in their blend offerings.
Our Top Coffee Recommendation: Emerald Blue
This fascinating blend combines the best of Colombian and Jamaican coffees. The result is a blend that simultaneously captures uniqueness and tradition.
The sweet citrus notes of this coffee are beautifully complemented by a smoky tobacco undertone, promising a delightful experience for many coffee drinkers.
We Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who:
- Want to explore coffee from other Latin American and African origins
- Are particularly interested in trying new coffee blends
- Prefer K-Cup options
We Don’t Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who:
- Prefer single-origin options over blends
- Are primarily looking for Colombian coffee options
Counter Culture Coffee
To truly appreciate specialty coffee, you have to taste it for yourself. Counter Culture Coffee consistently delivers delectable, aromatic, and complex whole bean coffee, setting a high standard in the industry.
Based in North Carolina, this roaster offers an impressive portfolio with origins from around the world. While they regularly source coffee from Colombia, they also introduce limited-edition options, steeped coffee, and subscription models.
Make sure to check in periodically, as Counter Culture Coffee frequently introduces new coffee offerings every few months.
Our Top Coffee Recommendation: Decaf Urcunina
Straight from the renowned Nariño region, Counter Culture Coffee's Decaf Urcunina makes a bold statement right from the start. This coffee boasts a syrupy sweetness with subtle notes of grape and citrus.
Try it black or with milk. The pour-over method brings out its flavors splendidly, although any brewing method would suffice. And if you're short on time, their steeped coffee bags are worth a try.
We Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who:
- Want a variety of Colombian coffee options
- Require decaffeinated or half-caf options
- Value convenience through steeped coffee or subscription models
We Don’t Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who:
- Are specifically seeking exclusive Colombian coffee origins
Our final recommendation goes to Devoción Coffee, a roaster that values transparency. This company emphasizes the hard work that goes into delivering high-quality coffee directly to your doorstep.
One notable selling point is the freshness of their coffee, achieved by bypassing exporters and boat transportation. Devoción Coffee purchases its beans directly from Colombia, ensuring that you enjoy some of the freshest coffee available.
Our Top Coffee Recommendation: El Sol
Labeled as an 'Active Harvest,' this coffee is purchased right in the midst of the harvest season. Devoción Coffee's commitment to freshness is evident in this bag.
Anticipate enjoying subtle flavors of stone fruit and cinnamon in this delightful blend.
We Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who:
- Want the freshest coffee available
- Prefer roasters with subscription models
- Support transparent coffee trading models
We Don’t Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who:
- Are primarily seeking decaffeinated or half-caf options
Why Is Colombia So Good For Growing Coffee?
Colombia stands out as a country with numerous regions that offer ideal growing conditions for Arabica plants. The diverse climate and landscape allow for the production of a wide variety of coffees and a year-round harvest. Coffee trees in Colombia yield two harvests annually - the main harvest and the second harvest. Notably, Colombia exclusively produces Arabica Coffee beans, with the majority processed using the wet or washed method. The perfect growing conditions, coupled with meticulous harvesting and processing practices, contribute to the exceptional quality and high demand for Colombian coffee.
From the lush coffee-growing regions to the expertly roasted beans, Colombia has captivated the world with its high-quality coffees. Whether you're exploring the historic coffee axis or sipping on a cup in the bustling streets of Bogota, the rich flavors and smooth aromas of Colombian coffee are truly an experience to behold. From the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to Quindío, each region offers a unique taste that will leave you craving for more. But it's not just the taste that makes Colombian coffee special - it's the dedication and passion of the hardworking growers that make it all possible. By supporting the local coffee industry and understanding the complexities of the coffee-making process, we can ensure these farmers receive a fair livelihood for their hard work. So next time you reach for a cup of coffee, consider choosing a Colombian brew and embark on a journey of flavors and a commitment to improving the lives of the passionate coffee growers of Colombia.
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