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Colombian coffee is famous for its high quality and delicious flavours: in fact, Colombian coffee is generally acknowledged as being among the best in the world. But how can a visitor to Colombia experience the best of the country’s coffee, when the vast majority of the best stuff is exported? Here’s how to be a coffee lover in Colombia and really make the most of your time exploring one of the coffee capitals of the world.
Sadly, the majority of Colombians don’t get to try the finest specialty coffee their country produces; that pleasure is usually reserved for patrons of cafés in Europe, Australia, Asia and North America. However, there is a growing movement towards specialty coffee in Colombia, and excellent cafés are springing up in all the major cities. In Bogotá and Medellín you are spoilt for choice, with brilliant cafés and world-class baristas to be found at every turn: in Bogotá, make sure not to miss Amor Perfecto, Catacion Publica, Cafe Cultor, Azahar and Bourbon Coffee Roasters, while Medellin’s best cafés include Pergamino and Cafe Zepellin.
You can also simplify this process by taking a coffee-shop tour in Bogotá: with a variety of excellent options, including the Flavors of Bogotá Coffee Shop Tour and the Travesia Coffee Tour, it’s a great way to enjoy an introduction to Colombian coffee and learn about the different regions where coffee is grown.
You can’t call yourself a coffee lover in Colombia if you don’t take the time to at least visit a coffee plantation, meet some coffee farmers and pickers and experience the stunning landscapes where Colombian coffee comes from. Luckily, you’re really spoiled for choice on this front: of Colombia’s 32 departmental regions, at least 22 grow coffee, so you’re never really far from a coffee farm.
The most popular region in Colombia for coffee lovers to visit is the Zona Cafetera, the Colombian Coffee Region, parts of which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The regions of Caldas, Quindio and Risaralda produce the majority of Colombian coffee, and are also the best places to take a coffee tour. Hardcore coffee lovers will want to spend a night or two at Hacienda Venecia, an authentic coffee farm and boutique hotel; if that’s a tad over budget, then check out the Panorama Café Hostel in Buenavista, a coffee-themed hostel with a spectacular view. Perhaps the best and most immersive coffee tour in Colombia takes place in the lovely little town of Pijao: the WakeCup Experience by Experiencia Cafetera, where guests will meet real coffee farmers and learn everything there is to know about what coffee means to Colombia.
What makes Colombian coffee so good? It really comes down to three factors: geography, cultivation and type of coffee. Colombia’s mountainous geography and tropical climate make it the ideal country for coffee production, while the fact that every single bean in the country is handpicked makes for a real quality product. Throw in the fact that 100% of Colombia’s coffee is of the Arabica variety, generally acknowledged to be the finest type of coffee, and you have a recipe for a world-class beverage.
At the end of the day, all that really matters is that you enjoy coffee, but if you want to have a more in-depth experience and really explore the magic of Colombian coffee, following these tips should make for an excellent coffee lover’s tour.