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This is pretty obvious really, but the best gift from Colombia for a coffee lover has to be a bag (or several) of the finest quality Colombian coffee. Some tips for bringing coffee back from Colombia: make sure you know when the coffee was roasted, as supermarket coffee was often roasted months earlier and therefore has lost quality. Also try to buy beans instead of ground coffee, as it will keep its freshness longer. The best place to buy good coffee is at one of Bogota’s many excellent independent cafes or, ideally, directly from a farmer on a coffee tour.
If you really want to stick with the coffee theme for your gifts then you’ll be in luck at Bogota airport, where all of the souvenir shops sell a variety of coffee-flavoured sweets, including delicious chocolate-covered coffee beans. This also comes in handy if you managed to forget to buy a gift for your coffee loving friend and need to grab something just before you fly home!
If there’s one iconic image from the Colombian Coffee Region then it surely must be a steaming hot cup of Colombian coffee served in one of these lovely little mugs featuring the Colombian flag. Just about every household in Colombia seems to have a set of these little china cups, so they make the perfect gift for coffee lovers (the best part is that they are easily bought – and cheap – in supermarkets, but they seem like a much fancier gift!).
You can really show your coffee lover credentials with an item of coffee-themed clothing, and Quindio-based travel operator Experiencia Cafetera have the perfect coffee t-shirt for sale: a simple design bearing their philosophy of #coffeeandtravel. The idea is to treat coffee the same way people treat other tourism experiences and offer a truly authentic and immersive coffee-related experience. And what better way for your coffee loving pal to show off their hipster cool than with a Colombian coffee tee?
Karen Attman – owner and operator of an excellent Bogota-based coffee shop tour – has recently penned a great little book called Permission to Slurp: The Insider’s Guide to Tasting Specialty Coffee in Colombia. The book, in a humorous and light-hearted manner, gives the lowdown on specialty coffee in Colombia and is a great little read for anyone with an interest in coffee and Colombia.
The chances are that a coffee loving friend will really enjoy making coffee at home, so perhaps the best gift you could bring back would be a brand new way to do that. Most good coffee shops in big cities sell a variety of different preparation methods, including the Chemex, V60, Aeropress, and Syphon, so if you really want to spoil someone with a fancy coffee present, consider picking one these up with your bag of coffee.
Colombian coffee is stored and exported in giant hessian sacks marked ‘Product of Colombia’ – virtually every bean ever grown in Colombia has passed through one of these sacks at some point. They are also usually marked with a logo by different coffee brands, and sometimes they sell these beautiful sacks as gifts. They make great shopping bags or, if you buy a really big one, they also look great framed on a wall.