A TYPICAL COLOMBIAN COFFEE – DOES IT EXIST?

Sa’ar Avrashi

a-typical-colombian-coffee

WHAT IS A COLOMBIAN COFFEE?

Colombian coffees, in reality, have many faces. It is true, to some extent, that some patterns repeat themselves in the classic Colombian coffee, but with its always-developing industry, saying ‘a classic Colombian coffee’ is becoming less relevant with time, especially within the specialty coffee market.

Colombia is divided into 14 coffee regions, officially called departments, spreading all over the country. Some of the most famous ones, which surely many of you have probably heard of, are Huila, Nariño, and Antioquia, to mention just a few. It has many types of landscapes and micro-climates, hundreds of kilometers far away from each other, and some of these regions can vary significantly. Thus, in a country with thousands of coffee producers and rich history in coffee growing, it is practically impossible to narrow it down to a single #Character or a fixed set of the sensory profile.

 

AND WHAT ABOUT ONE’S PERCEPTION?

 However, there’s also a different way to see things, focusing on the personal, subjective perception, with facts and experience as the background guidelines. 

In my case, I’ve had the fortune to work, or more correctly intern, in a Colombian coffee farm for more than two months. I spent this period living with the Bedoya family, the fourth generation of coffee growers, in the department of Quindío, a region which is a third of the essential ‘coffee triangle’ in Colombia. 

The ‘coffee triangle’ is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Tiny Quindío as a coffee region is less famous worldwide, even though that area produces an impressive amount of Colombia’s total production. 

The Bedoya family introduced me to the agriculture and processing of coffee, the typical local varieties, and in general to the Colombian coffee culture and characteristics. Therefore, I’m sure you can imagine I’ve tried A LOT of Colombian coffees, not only from Quindío of course.

 

SO, IS THERE A COLOMBIAN #CHARACTER?

As I mentioned before, the level of expertise and professionalism of coffee growers in Colombia is always on the rise. Farmers are experimenting with new exotic Arabica varieties and unusual processing methods

Yet there are still some features that repeat themselves quite often, even in the more unique specialty coffee niche. Those features somehow create a “typical” Colombian cup profile. Starting with the processing method. 

The most common and traditional processing method in Colombia is most likely the washed process. In short, this process involves the peeling of the cherries immediately after their collection, so they ferment and dry without their pulp and skin (Cascara in “coffee language”, and Spanish). 

It results in a much cleaner, subtle, and elegant cup profile. 

Usually, there’s no dominant presence of red fruits or fermented kind of notes, and the body is quite light and smooth. In addition, there are some popular varieties of Colombia coffee, which you will easily spot when looking at a Colombian 250g bag of coffee in an occasional specialty coffee shop, like Caturra, Castillo, Bourbon, and Tabi for example. 

The constant cultivation of these popular varieties, with a combination of the common processing method, creates similar properties to a considerable amount of Colombian coffees. If you also keep in mind that coffee farms don’t usually reach a 2000+ meters elevation like in some parts of Africa, but more in the range between 1,200 to 1,800 meters above sea level, it’d make a lot of sense when thinking of how balanced Colombian coffees tend to be.

So that exactly what Colombian coffee is in many cases: delightful, balanced, light-bodied, with almost tea-like qualities and florals. Delicate acidity and a mild sweetness. Here at Vinhood, that’s what the #Chill character is all about: “calm and reflective”. 

Moderate, serene, peaceful. And when you think about it, it might just be exactly what you wish for, in these stressful coronavirus days – a cup of coffee so sit and relax with.

Nonetheless, it’s important to always remember not to generalize a whole country to a single #Character, at least until you’ve tried a great number of different coffees from that origin. My colleague Mateo, for example, finds Colombian coffee quite often #Cheerful. And he is Colombian!

So to sum things up, we must always acknowledge that coffee has an enormous and mysterious journey, from the field until our local coffee shop. You will always find yourself surprised by coffees you thought you knew.

Try our test and discover your ideal Coffee #Characte!

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