Colombian Coffee

Colombia is an amazing coffee origin. It has a unique climate which results in almost constant coffee harvesting from different regions. Colombia produces the third largest amount of coffee in the world, but the largest quantity of Arabica beans. The largest importer of Colombian coffee is the US, and it is definitely one of the United States' favorite origins.

Coffee Regions in Colombia

Coffee is grown in much of Colombia, but a few regions have really taken off as hotbeds of specialty coffee production and have distinguished themselves time and again with their excellent crops.

Huila: One of Colombia's most famed coffee-producing areas, Huila is a department in southwest Colombia whose capital is the city of Neiva. Due to its location and climate, Huila produces coffee year-round.

Tolima: Another large producer of coffee, the Tolima department is in the west-central part of the country, a bit north of Huila, closer to Bogota.

NariƱo: The westernmost department on the border with Equador, most of Narino's population is located in the mountainous regions inland, where coffee production is common.

Coffee Production

In the majority of Colombia, coffee is produced on small family-owned farms of 2 - 6 hectares, located on the hillsides and highlands of mountain ranges. The coffee is usually picked, processed, and dried on the farm and the dried parchment is delivered to a coop or exporter for dry milling.

Because of Colombia's unique climate, multiple pickings of coffee can take place from the same farm each year. Given the variety of Colombia's geography, this means that fresh Colombian coffee is available for export much more frequently than from other countries with much more rigid winters and rainy seasons.

Processing

The majority of Colombian coffee is processed as washed coffee. This is the traditional method of production where the fruit and mucilage of the coffee cherry are washed away from the bean before it's dried.

The humid conditions in much of Colombia make naturals and honey processed coffee much more difficult and risky for the farmer. However, we do still see some excellent honey and natural coffees coming from Colombia, often from farmers with years of experience producing them through trial and error.

Varietals

The most common varietal grown in Colombia is Caturra, due to its relative resistance to leaf rust and high yield. Some other popular varietals that are grown locally include Variedad Colombia and Castillo. Many farms grow a mix of these varietals in the same plots of land, but there are also many farms that separate lots by varietal. More unique varietals are starting to be cultivated at scale in Colombia as well, such as Pink Bourbon and Geisha.

Past Colombian Coffee