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Colombia: a coffee rough guide

Coffee and travel go hand in hand, they are perfect companions for a short trip to a neighbouring city, a far away place, or as a form of escapism in the midst of your day. As we embark on yet another sourcing season stuck at home without travel, we’re feeling a little nostalgic about our friends in far places.

Last week, we shared the first in a series of features where we invite you to escape with us virtually as we visit our favourite coffee growing regions, revealing some of the places, farms, and secrets we have discovered along the way. This week we’re doing the same with another region very near and dear to us. So, without further delay, let’s get going and escape to Colombia...

Country: Colombia

Where to go? Huila, Tolima, Cauca, Nariño

When to go? March – June or September - December

Favourite Farms? La Piragua, Buesaco, Vista Hermosa, La Esperanza, San Sebastián, Los Naranjos

At a Glance:
Colombian coffee culture is deep rooted in traditions and family practices passed down over generations. Thanks to the climate Columbia has two distinct flowering and ripening cycles, meaning there are two harvest seasons that make it relatively easy to source amazing in-season coffee year round. 

The land itself is home to a nutrient-rich soil, high elevations, beautiful mountainous regions, and is known for its microclimates. Four of our favourite coffee growing microclimates occur in the southern regions of Huila, Narino, Tolima, and Cauca which are found close to the Pacific Ocean. The high elevations in these regions produce coffees that have higher-than-average acidity, lovely floral aromatics, and dense complex flavour profiles.  

A must see:

Experience the vibrant culture and art of the old city of Bogata. From there, hop on a quick “puddle jumper” flight over the soaring Andean mountains to Pitalito in Huila and hire a car to make your way through a series of small municipalities and towns to San Agustin to taste the new coffee harvests, and visit the welcoming family-run farms.  

What not to miss? 

  1. Microclimate diversity – Influenced by the proximity to the equator and the impact of Andes and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges, Colombian coffee farms sit anywhere from 500 to an incredible 2500 metres above sea level.  This range creates a variety of growing conditions, over 80 distinct microclimates, and result in a wide diversity of cup profiles.

  2. Small Parcel Culture – With family-owned farming plots averaging 1.5 hectares, growing coffee is rooted in family and history.  The use of traditional and manual processes has created a deep cultural value that has been passed down over the decades. On the farms you’ll quite often meet the whole family as they work together to fill your cups with delicious coffee.