Colombian coffee is considered to be one of the better coffee in grocery stores and is all over coffee shops. But what gives with its popularity? Why is Colombian coffee so popular and what can you expect when you drink it?
What does Colombian coffee taste like?
Colombian coffee is usually considered to be a medium-bodied coffee with a rich taste, a citrus-like acidity, and a fruity flavor, sometimes with notes of chocolate. It’s a relatively mild coffee and it’s often found as a base for blends, as well as found on its own. It also stands up to different levels of roasting, though light and medium are the best.
Colombian Coffee: Quick Notes
What are some stats on Colombian coffee?
- Grows at 1,200-2,000 meters above sea level
- Is grown all over the Colombia region
- Colombia is the third-highest producer of coffee behind Brazil and Vietnam
- Is harvested between September and December
- The best ones are washed and sun-dried
- It has a sweet, chocolaty smell and a sweet, citrusy flavor
- Medium body and bright acidity
- Commands a reasonable price because it’s tasty, versatile, and grown by small to medium farms, but in huge amounts. Organic, fair trade, and Rainforest Alliance certified coffee is available too
- Although most crops are harvested between September and January, some harvesting happens from April to August. This ensures a consistent output and export of coffee to the North American market
- Colombian coffee can be single-origin (meaning it’s traceable back to one farm) or part of blends
- Coffee beans started to be grown in 1723 with the first exports were in 1835
What makes this type of coffee unique is that it is usually farmed on small or medium family-run farms, with half a million families farming coffee.
Colombian coffee is made from 100% arabica beans with a strong emphasis on quality. They are also farmed by former guerilla soldiers who trained as farmers and baristas! (Talk about swords to plowshares).
As a note, you may notice Supremo or Exelso on coffee bags. This refers to the size of the coffee bean, not the flavor or where it came from.
Variety in How Colombian Coffee Tastes
The Republic of Colombia is a large country in South America. It’s a diverse region with many places to grow crops, including coffee! As a result of this, the taste of Colombian coffee can actually vary quite a bit.
The classic taste that many reviewers land on is the sweet, citrusy one with notes of nuts or chocolate; however, depending on where the beans were grown and how they were grown, the flavor profile can be any number of things such as:
- Vibrant and fruity
- Berry flavors
- Floral notes
- Jammy notes
For this reason, too, Colombian coffee is popular since there is something for everyone. There are though, three main regions of coffee growing which provides 22 distinct regions and three distinct flavor profiles:
- Southern: more acidic and citrusy
- Central: Herbal and fruity
- Northern: Chocolate, nuts, and more body with less acid
Colombian coffee does not have more caffeine (or less) than any other type of coffee, but it does tend to be more acidic because it grows in high altitudes and lower temperatures.
Why is Colombian Coffee Considered One of the Best?
Well, first of all, this rather depends on who you ask! But Colombia does produce high-quality coffee beans, no matter how you look at it.
First, the country grows the arabica bean which is considered to be the superior bean. On top of that, the climate in Colombia is one of the best suited to coffee in the world.
It’s stable, with enough rain and dryness to accommodate proper growth and plenty of the right elevation. Many other countries have been suffering from climate change and their ability to grow coffee, but fortunately, Colombia has remained stable.
The beans are also wet-processed which lets you get more of a flavor (literally) of where the coffee was grown and a more pleasing acidity.
Second, there is the fact that Colombian coffee blends well with other coffees and works really well as an espresso. It can handle any level of roasting, though light and medium showcase it best and it can be run through all different machines with different flavor profiles.
It even makes a good instant coffee! And Starbucks also relies heavily on Colombia to provide its Arabica beans for their blends, including reserve beans.
But really, Colombian coffee is considered one of the best because of the care that goes into growing and processing it and then making sure to get a roast that showcases it at its best. It’s also popular because it tastes like how people picture coffee should taste!
Colombian Coffee is Popular but At Risk
In the 1990s, coffee growers and farmers were struggling with their profits and losing production. This fed into the loss of profits, creating a vicious cycle where many farmers had to close their farms.
The problem is ongoing today. Climate change, natural disasters, wars, and other issues mean that many farmers struggle to make ends meet, and even partnering with brands like Starbucks isn’t solving the issue.
Covid-19 made the problem worse by removing the pool of experienced laborers from the field and causing many crops to rot. The lack of money coming in also means that it’s very difficult to reinvest in the farms, making them more vulnerable to disease.
There are a lot of factors that will need to go into saving the livelihood of these farmers, and Colombian coffee!
Whether Colombian coffee is the best or not is really up to your preferences. It is one of the more versatile ones out there, able to be blended, or stand-alone, and it has a wide variety of flavor profiles.
It is definitely one of the most common coffee beans on the market, particularly in coffee shops. All in all, if you drink coffee, odds are you have had a Colombian bean coffee at some point.
What do you think of Colombian coffee? Does it deserve its reputation or do you have another favorite?
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