The history of Colombian Coffee
According to history of coffee dates back many centuries in the northeastern side of the African continent, a place known today as Ethiopia. Apparently, a goat herder named Pastor Kaldi noticed a different and energetic behavior in his goats after consuming the red berries of a particular plant.
He went to the local monastery to share this information and to experiment with this fruit. After several trials, the monks realized what would help them to stay awake during their nightly prayers were the berries. After roasting the beans and grinding them, they managed a way to create this amazing beverage known today as coffee.
It wasn’t until 1735 when the Jesuits missionaries brought coffee seeds to Colombian territory to plant them at the community seminary in the city of Popayán. Ever since we became so passionate about growing Colombian coffee, we realized the perfect conditions we have to harvest and the process it takes to make one of the best coffees in the planet.
Colombia grows one of the best types of coffee beans, Arabica
Robusta and Arabica are the two main varieties of different types of coffee in the world. The first one comes from a plant called Coffeea Canephora, which is mostly grown in Brazil and some regions of Africa. These types of coffee beans, when processed, tend to have a stronger and more bitter taste. For this reason, it is mostly used in blends to make instant coffee or other caffeinated beverages like instant coffee, sodas or tea.
On the other hand, Arabica is one of the types of coffee beans that grow in the Coffea Arabica plant, mostly found in tropical climates around the equator, Central America and some regions in Africa. It is a plant that requires very special conditions to grow properly and when processed, its most amazing characteristics are enhanced, such as hints of fruit and berries, a slight/mild acidity, some notes of chocolate, caramel, and nuts, and just a little bitterness. These qualities make it the best tasting coffee in the world. Colombia only grows Arabica. Also these types of beans represent over 60% of the international coffee trade.
The reasons behind a cup of the best coffee in the world
The quality of a coffee is defined by certain physical and sensorial characteristics, and while the first can be arranged in machines, the second has a lot to do with the different techniques or technologies used during the drying and fermentation process.
What the great coffee tasters in the world measure and value about Colombian coffee is “the cleanliness of the cup“, especially its acidity, a rare characteristic in many coffees around the world, and part of what makes coffee of Colombia the most coveted in the international market.
Colombia’s great weather condition and location allows it to grow coffee year-round
As we previously mentioned, Arabica is well known to have higher quality, but it’s also harder to grow. That’s because it requires the highest altitudes of the beautiful Colombian mountain-range where you find the perfect conditions, including volcanic soils, warm tropical temperature and enough rain and sunshine to harvest the best coffee cherries.
Due to the steep coffee farms located in the mountain peaks of the Coffee Cultural Landscape, the coffee in Colombia is hand-picked as it would be impossible for machines to operate in the territory. Also, the machine would ruin the entire branch of the plant and wouldn’t be able to differentiate red, ripe, over ripped, or green beans. Farmers and local coffee pickers are able to very carefully select beans of the highest classification.
Colombia is the third-largest coffee producing country and the top producer of mild coffee in the world.
Colombia is one of the few countries that produces two coffee crops a year, the main harvest starts with the international crop cycle and International Coffee Day Oct. 1st.
Growing only Arabica contributes to the premium quality of Coffee
For the FNC (Federación Nacional de Cafeteros), the organization that representing the interests of coffee in Colombia growers both nationally and internationally, the main goal is to export the best coffee in the world. For this reason, they oversee every bundle of Colombian coffee exported to other countries, sampling and testing to ensure the highest quality.
Depending on the soil and climate conditions of every region in Colombia, you can have a very clean cup of coffee with good acidity, and a certain sweetness. These qualities are a big bonus for different types of coffees. Most Colombian coffees have a good sweetness and other characteristics such as aromatic notes. When it is tasted and smelled, you can enjoy notes of jasmine, roses or even chocolate, profiles that are created to satisfy the international market.
The coffees from the south of Cauca, Nariño and Huila have higher acidity and sweetness, and the coffees from the Santander and the Atlantic coast have medium acidity and less sweetness.
The best tasting coffee comes from the different drying and fermentation methods
In recent years the international market has become more demanding of the characteristics they expect in their cup of coffee. This has led Colombia to modify the process of how coffee is created. Normally, the seeds are collected and the “benefit” is made, which involves pulping the cherry, putting it to ferment and then washing.
These types of coffees are called washed arabicas, and it is through this process that characteristics of acidity and sweetness are highlighted or established. Usually in Colombia there is a fermentation period of 14hrs, but some increase that to upwards of 30 hours. By modifying fermentation times, coffee growers obtain new flavors and aromas to produce their own versions of the best tasting coffee.
As you can see, Colombia produces the greatest coffee in the planet. The largest volume of coffee is exported to the USA, Germany, Japan, and Switzerland. Now that you know the thorough processes, we follow to give you the highest quality, celebrate International Coffee Day with us by having a fresh brewed cup of Colombian Arabica coffee.
Without a doubt, Colombia is a country with many wonderful things to discover. In fact, Disney made a movie inspired in Colombia: Encanto. A beautiful show of Colombia’s traditions and characteristics that make this country so unique. Click here to know more.