Colombian Coffee

Colombia is one of the most respected coffee growing countries in the world, and today coffee makes a massive contribution to the country’s economy. However, it has not always been this way. Colombia is a small country, but it enjoys a lot of biodiversity. The Andes Mountains divides the country into several different regions, which are home to a huge number of different pants and animals. The biodiversity is ideal for coffee growers that want to produce rich, shade-grown crops.

In the 1990s, Colombia’s coffee industry was struggling, with almost one quarter of the coffee growers in the country failing to meet production costs. The farmers were plunged into poverty, and many of them built up huge debts. Malnutrition was a serious problem, and coffee outputs fell by 44% because farmers could not afford to harvest all of their crops. A lot of farms shut down during this period.

Today, coffee prices are much higher and the farms that survived the crisis are in a much stronger position, able to take advantage of the country’s biodiversity to produce some unique and flavourful coffees. However, the political instability in the country is still a concern for farmers.

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The History of Colombian Coffee

It is unclear exactly when coffee was introduced to Colombia, according to some historians, Jesuit priests brought the bean to the country in the seventeenth century. However, it was not until the 1830s that coffee was first exported from Columbia. 

Within 25 years, coffee had become Colombia’s most important export crop, and the government quickly introduced export tariffs in the bean in order to generate revenue. Today, the National Federation of Coffee Growers serves Colombian farmers both as a protective body and a promotional one. The Federation created Juan Valdez, a fictional spokesperson for the coffee industry that has become an iconic representative of the country among coffee growers worldwide.

Types of Coffee Grown in Colombia

Colombian coffee farmers grow a wide range of crops. There are 14 regions in the country, and each has its own distinctive taste. The most popular varieties grown in the country include Bourbon, Colombia, Caturra, Tipica, Tabi and Maragogype. Colombia has both small-holdings, co-operatives and large farms, and the NFC guarantees that it will purchase green coffee from farmers, although those farmers are free to sell their coffee through any avenue they wish.

Environmental Problems

Traditionally, Colombian coffee was washed to process it, but this consumed a lot of water and was found to cause contamination of local water systems. For this reason, the Cenicafe organisation helped Colombian coffee growers to develop a new dry pulping method. This method is not just more environmentally friendly, it is also more consistent, and ensures that coffee lovers will always get the same level of high cup quality, and the same distinctive taste, from every cup.

Colombia’s biodiversity and the range of micro climates that it is home to means that there are high quality coffees available throughout the year. The country is perhaps best known for its rich and flavourful robustas.