Coffee is an integral part of Colombian culture, and it is one of the country's most prized exports. Colombian coffee has a unique flavor profile that sets it apart from other coffee varieties. This can be attributed to the country's rich volcanic soil, high altitude, and perfect growing conditions. In this article, we'll explore the history of coffee in Colombia, the process of growing and harvesting Colombian coffee, and the unique characteristics that make it so special.
History of Coffee in Colombia
The first coffee plants were brought to Colombia in the early 18th century by Jesuit priests who were looking for new crops to cultivate. However, it wasn't until the early 19th century that coffee production began to take off in Colombia. Coffee quickly became one of the country's most important exports, and by the early 20th century, it was a major contributor to the Colombian economy.
Today, Colombia is the world's third-largest coffee producer, behind Brazil and Vietnam. The country's coffee industry employs over 500,000 people and generates over $2 billion in revenue annually.
Growing and Harvesting Colombian Coffee
Colombian coffee is grown in the country's central and western regions, where the climate is ideal for coffee cultivation. Coffee trees are planted on hillsides at elevations of between 1,200 and 2,000 meters above sea level. This altitude and climate provide the perfect conditions for the coffee cherries to grow slowly and develop their unique flavor profile.
Harvesting of Colombian coffee typically takes place between October and February. The coffee cherries are handpicked, ensuring that only the ripest cherries are selected. This process can be quite labor-intensive, as the steep hillsides make it difficult for machinery to be used.
Once the cherries have been picked, they are taken to a processing facility where they are washed and pulped. The beans are then dried, either by being left in the sun or by using a mechanical dryer. Finally, the beans are sorted and graded by size and quality before being shipped to coffee roasters around the world.
Characteristics of Colombian Coffee
Colombian coffee has a unique flavor profile that sets it apart from other coffee varieties. It is known for its mild, well-balanced taste, with notes of caramel and a subtle hint of fruitiness. The acidity level of Colombian coffee is also relatively low, making it an easy-to-drink coffee for those who don't like their coffee too acidic.
Colombian coffee is also known for its consistency, which is due to the strict regulations that govern its production. Colombian coffee must be made from 100% Arabica beans, and it must meet strict quality standards before it can be labeled as Colombian coffee.
Colombian coffee is a true gem of the coffee world, and it is no wonder that it is one of the country's most prized exports. Its unique flavor profile, consistency, and quality make it a favorite among coffee lovers around the world. If you have not yet tried Colombian coffee, it is definitely worth seeking out.