Colombian coffee is renowned for its rich aroma and excellent flavor. However, the beans grow in numerous departments across Colombia, and it isn’t its variety of coffee beans. So be aware that many coffee packets labeled as Colombian coffee could be from various coffees from all over Colombia, or they may be of a single origin.
Colombian coffee is unique because of a few factors, primarily the weather. In addition, Colombia is the ideal location to grow coffee because of its climate. Coffee production is also a contributing factor, as every bean is picked by hand. Lastly, Colombia is one of the few countries globally producing 100% arabica beans.
Colombia undoubtedly has the optimal climate and altitude; it also has perfected its handpicking process over the generations. So let’s explore more of what makes Colombian beans the finest in the world.
Which Region Does Colombian Coffee Grow?
Colombia has 22 coffee-growing regions divided into the northern, southern, and central. The North and south make organic coffee as the soil is better for coffee farming.
Most of the harvested coffee is produced in the south and central areas. Organic production yields just a few percent of the total; however, the volume increases. Let’s investigate the different coffee growing locations and their environments:
The North Region
In the north of Colombia lie the sub regions of Santander, Norte de Santander, Magdalena, and La Guajira. Sixty-two thousand five hundred growers produce coffee on 129,500 hectares of land.
This area has only one dry season, from December to March, and one wet season, April to November. Consequently, coffee blooms in March, just before the wet season, and the beans are harvested in October and November as the wet season comes to an end.
According to the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, above 9 degrees north, coffee beans grow in similar conditions to Central America due to higher temperatures and lower latitudes.
However, the coffee plants are more exposed to solar radiation within the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains and the Santander and Norte de Santander regions. So producers use more shade; this results in coffee with more body and less acidity.
The Central North And Central South Regions
In these regions, you will find South of Antioquia, Boyacá, Choco, Caldas, Quindío, Risaralda, Cundinamarca, Norte Valle Del Cauca, and North of Tolima. Antioquia is the second biggest coffee-producing region in Colombia, while Tolima is the third.
These regions have two dry seasons and two wet seasons annually. The dry seasons run from December to February, then June to September. The wet seasons run from March to May, then September to November, leading to two harvest seasons.
The Central North region has the main harvest season from October to December, at the end of the second wet season. There is a secondary harvest in May and June when the first wet season ends.
The Central South region has similar harvest times: May to June, then October to November. However, there is no main and secondary harvest.
The South Region
The south of Colombia is closer to the equator; hence, coffee grows higher. This region is mainly associated with quality coffee.
The flavor profile of coffee from this region is distinctive, with higher acidity. Two hundred eleven thousand producers grow coffee on 282,000 hectares of land, making the average farm smaller compared to the other areas.
Nariño, Huila, and Cauca are known as the new coffee triangle, with Nariño and Huila being prolific coffee growers and involved in the specialty industry. Coffee from this region has sweet acidity, fruit, caramel notes, and intense aromas.
This area has only one wet and one dry season, and the dry season lasts from June to September as coffee plants begin blooming. The wet season starts in October and can run into May. However, harvesting begins in April and continues until June.
The Eastern Region
The final Colombian coffee-growing region is smaller than the others, and it includes the areas of Arauca, Meta, Caquetá, and Casanare. Five thousand five hundred producers cultivate coffee across 10,500 hectares of land.
The east of Colombia has a similar climate to the North, albeit slightly more rainfall and humidity. This area experienced conflict, making coffee production a high priority in financial support.
The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation continues investing in the region to grow varieties suited to its ecosystem and help farmers increase their farm size.
What Is The Best Colombian Coffee?
When buying Colombian coffee, the first thing to consider is freshness. Unroasted coffee beans remain fresh for a long time; however, the quality declines rapidly once roasted.
In addition, coffee can go musty after a few weeks of roasting, which is why high-end producers roast to order.
It’s best to avoid cheap Colombian coffee brands from your local supermarket as you don’t know for how long it has been sitting around.
Secondly, you must consider the roast. Select your roast based on personal taste and the brewing method you plan to use. Once you select your preferred roast, you will find various great brands from which to choose. Let’s look at five great brands:
1. Volcanica Coffee – Colombian Supremo
This is a single-estate coffee from the Andeano Estate. It is a medium roast and is also available as decaf and unroasted.
The Colombian Supremo grows in the Andes mountains in the shade. The brewed coffee is smooth, with low acidity and a full body; it has fruity and sweet notes with a floral aroma. This product has the Fair Trade, Organic, and Rainforest Alliance certifications.
2. Volcanica Coffee – Colombian Peaberry
A peaberry is the result of a deformity of the coffee bean. A normal coffee bean has two seeds growing inside the cherry, while a peaberry has only one seed. After purchase, this brand roasts your beans to keep fresh, and it is a medium roast.
It’s a rare anomaly, but these beans are sweeter and more flavourful. Peaberry coffee is expensive as it must be carefully handpicked, and this brand of peaberry coffee is Fair Trade certified.
3. Irving Farm Monserrate
Monserrate is a small community in the Huila region. This coffee grows between 5,200 to 6,000 feet elevation and is imported and roasted in Irving Farm’s New York location.
The final brew has sweet, citrusy notes with a hazelnut and caramel flavor profile. You may also pick up some vanilla notes, and this coffee is available whole or pre-ground.
4. Don Pablo Colombian Supremo
Don Pablo roasts its coffee beans in small batches to preserve freshness for as long as possible. They have regional facilities across the United States to deliver the freshest roast coffee to their customers.
Don Pablo Colombian Supremo is a medium to dark roast, and you can buy it as either regular or decaf. It has a caramelized flavor profile, characteristic of a dark roast. In addition, it has a sweet taste and a medium body.
This is the perfect choice for someone on a budget that still demands quality.
5. Joe Coffee – La Familia Guarnizo
Joe Coffee comes from the Cordillera Central branch of the Andes mountains. This coffee brand specializes in lighter roast coffee to highlight the bean’s original flavor.
The Guarnizo family operates six farms in the Huila region, and this region produces two coffee harvests per year.
The variety of coffee beans used is from the Caturra coffee plant, and their coffee grows up to 6,000feet elevation. The final brew flavor is tangerine with toasted pecan and caramel notes.
Which Is Better Arabica Or Colombian Coffee?
Colombian coffee is 100% Arabica, but it’s not the same as a typical Arabica coffee. While taste in coffee is subjective, the consensus would categorize Colombian coffee as far superior to Arabica coffee.
Most Arabica coffees you buy are fine, but they are more of a “common” bean than Colombian coffee. As a result, some people find nothing spectacular about the flavor of Arabica coffee.
Colombian coffee is synonymous with high quality by the standards of most people. Colombian coffee possesses subtle flavors and notes than a standard Arabica bean.
The careful processing and delicate harvesting involved in creating a batch of Colombian beans also factor into the status of the variety.
Does Colombian Coffee Have More Caffeine?
Colombian coffee typically has a much lower caffeine content than many other coffee types. Arabica coffee is higher in caffeine than Colombian; additionally, Arabica’s caffeine levels continue elevating after brewing, especially if the brew is left sitting on a brew warmer for more than thirty minutes.
One of the reasons Colombian coffee is lower in caffeine is due to the extra washing step, which will lower the amount slightly. If you need more caffeine, you may want to consider Robusta coffee.
Colombian coffee is secure in its place as one of the best coffees in the world. This is because Colombia’s geography and climate are ideal for growing coffee, a sensitive crop that requires the right conditions to thrive.
Who could underestimate the growing and harvesting process? When it comes to producing high-quality coffee, you need dedicated, hard-working hand pickers.
Hand pickers must go out on steep slopes in the heat of the day to pick every bean by hand. The beans themselves are 100% Arabica coffee, so you get only the finest coffee every time you choose Colombian coffee.
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