Last week, we had lunch with some of our Colombian coffee connections from Caravela Coffee.  It was a great conversation about beans, people, and places. Here are a few things that stood out to us about the Colombian coffee scene:

  1. Everyone and their mom farms coffee in Colombia. There are over 500,000 coffee farming families, mostly small-holder farms, and coffee growing is such a big part of life there that Colombians are often called cafeteros (Spanish for “people of the coffee”). Of Colombia’s 32 departments, or states, 19 of them produce coffee.
  1. Unlike most of the coffee-growing world, Colombia has two coffee flowerings per year. That means two harvests a year – double deliciousness. Most of the coffee in Colombia grows in a mountainous area known as the Coffee Triangle. Slopes and valleys create diverse microclimates, resulting in many varieties with distinct characteristics. Due to variations in rainfall, sunshine, altitude, etc., beans growing on one side of a mountain could have a completely different flavor profile than those growing on the other side.
  1. Colombians, by and large, do not drink the coffee they produce. For many years, the country has been trained to export the best beans and make due with the coffee that the rest of the world doesn’t want. Most Colombians drink tinto, a sweet, watery mixture that’s close to what we know as instant coffee. Slowly but surely, tastes are changing and Colombians are keeping some of their quality coffees for themselves.

Want to try this country’s brews for yourself? Check out our Colombian single-origin San Roque, with notes of cherry cola, chocolate, and clementine. We’ve also recently added two new seasonal Colombian coffees to our offerings from Finca El Faldon and a brand new reserve lot from San Roque.

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  1. There is a small, organic coffee cooperative in Valle del Cauca, which produces delightful coffee. “Cafe Tinamu Organico.” Their offices, roasting and bagging equipment are in La Marina, near-ish Buga. The cooperative is called ASOPECAN (I’ve forgotten what the letters stand for), but last I heard, they had opened a coffee shop at Universidad La Javeriana in Cali. This would be good coffee for you to help market They sell in three different purities, and it is all certified organic. Members own very small farms; we met one woman who ran her own farm, and did everything entirely by herself.

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