A cup of coffee can take you all the way around the world without leaving your home. Once you have dialed in your favorite way to brew coffee, the next step is often to explore different types of beans.
As with any journey, both literal and figurative, you want to absorb what you can from the culture. When it comes to Colombia and coffee culture, they go together like ground beans and warm water.
Colombia is one of the biggest coffee producing countries in the world, along with Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia. Coffee was introduced to Colombia in the early 1800s. The Colombian Coffee Federation has done a commendable job in promoting the specialty coffees of Colombia. Colombian coffee beans are rich in flavour, heavy bodied, has a bright acidity, and is intensely aromatic.
What Makes Each Region Taste Different?
Colombia have wonderful climate which allows it to produce great coffee all year around. Due to volcanic mountains the climate in Colombia is stable. It is an incredible place to grow coffee, full stop. It comes down to things like the weather (both rain and the overall temperature), the elevation, and the differences in soil that are responsible for the unique flavor profiles in each of the main regions. The arabica beans play a big factor too, as does the careful harvesting of each bean.
There’s no single magic bullet that makes coffee produced in Colombia stand out, which is an interesting parallel to the uniqueness of the farmers who grow it. It’s a combination of many factors working together that creates this perfect storm, much like the many farmers working together to carry on the tradition and to push the economy forward.
Colombian coffee is often regarded as some of the highest quality coffee in the world. Colombia has traditionally grown arabica beans and its unique geography makes it perfectly suited for producing a delicious, high quality brew1. Colombia’s excellent growing conditions have paired with an aggressive marketing campaign by the National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC), which has worked since the late 1950’s to bring Colombia’s coffee sector to the forefront of international attention. Colombia has traditionally been second in global coffee production only to Brazil2, but has been set back to third by Vietnam’s recent market entry and rapidly expanding production of robusta coffees. Over 500,000 farms, most of them small landholdings of 5 hectares or less3 are scattered across the zonas cafeteras, some of the most biologically diverse landscapes in the world.
Moises Chaguala lives at his farm El Recuerdo with his wife and 2 sons, all of which work on the farm which is about 6 hectairs. Grown in the Huila region which is one of the most well- known coffee growing areas of Colombia. The Department of Huila is situated for the most part in the Colombian Massif, harboring Colombia’s second highest peak, the Nevado Del Huila Volcano. Indeed, the volcanic soil is hard to avoid in these parts of the Andes, which makes it fertile ground in which to grow coffee. Also contributing to the fertile soil is the Magdalena River, Colombia’s largest stream. Due to the weather, coffee production and harvest occurs for the most of the year, allowing imports of fresh coffee almost constantly. Ironically, the ideal growing conditions in the region, the high rainfall and humidity, makes it hard to dry and process coffee.
The Natural-Hidrahoney is a unique process in which they ferment cherries (without depulping) under water for 60 hours, they then drain the excess water from the coffee and depulp as honey. They are dried in marquesinas – solar dryers on raised beds.
We have sourced this coffee from Café Andaqui which is an exporter mostly working in the Acevedo area of Huila. It was founded by Francy Alarcon in 2013 after she identified the area’s potential for specialty production due to the area’s microclimate and most importantly the willingness of producers to work towards specialty production. Francy has built a “Next Generation” project which gives opportunities to next generation producers who are thinking about leaving the farms and at risk youth whose families have been in the coffee industry to enter/or keep working with specialty coffee and going further than just producing coffee.