Colombians identify so strongly with the coffee trade that they are known throughout Latin America as cafeteros, or coffee lovers. Ask a Colombian about their favorite drink, and you are likely to hear some pretty strong words about how Colombian coffee is the best! They certainly have good reason for their patriotic pride: Colombian coffees are consistently considered some of the finest coffees in the world.
Coffee has been grown in Colombia for almost 300 years, so it makes sense that it is an integral part of the culture. Unlike many other coffee-producing countries, its industry was slow to develop, and coffee has only been a major export for just under 100 years. This makes its current status as a world leader in both quantity and quality perhaps even more impressive. Colombia is the third largest producer of coffee in the world—but the largest producer of the higher-quality Arabica coffee bean.
The country has also had great foresight in terms of marketing the quality of its coffee. The well-known Juan Valdez character was created by the National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC), the non-profit organization that represents Colombian coffee growers, in order to promote the country’s product. The FNC also obtained protected designation of origin status through the European Union. Colombian coffee was, in fact, the first product from a non-EU country to receive this status.
The high altitudes and tropical climate of Colombia are especially suited to Arabica coffee beans. Years of dedication and experimentation have allowed Colombian growers to develop a method that consistently delivers high-quality beans with powerful aromas and perfectly balanced flavors, by allowing the beans the time to grow and mature properly. The growing process alone can last between two to four years.
Another distinction of Colombian coffee is its diversity. While famous for quality, it is also known for the differences between the coffees from its different coffee regions. The central region features milder weather, which allows for less aggressive flavors and much higher acidity. In contrast, the temperamental weather of the eastern regions produces coffee beans with a stronger taste and less acidity.
There are currently some 500,000 coffee farming families in Colombia. Most of them grow on small pieces of land, while membership in the National Federation of Coffee Growers allows them access to both marketing resources and research. The FNC also provides social and environmental programs, like healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
Due to our strong relationships with growers, we are able to offer blends from the best Colombian coffee-growing regions.
Right in the heart of the Colombian coffee belt, the Quindío region lives and breathes coffee. It’s home to the National Coffee Park, the annual Coffee Party, and even the Miss Colombian Coffee contest. Our Quimbaya blend represents the best of Quindío, whose high elevation and dedicated workers provide some of the finest tasting coffee on the planet.
Our Pitalito Laboyano blend comes from Huila in the Laboyos Valley, where the rainfall and tropical weather conditions produce beans with a rich, powerful flavor. The area is known for its fruity coffees, and this blend is no exception. The medium roast highlights the heavy aroma and strong flavors that characterize the region.
Nariño grows some of the the highest coffees in Colombia, but with a mildly warm weather that allows them to mature at a rate slow enough to fully develop their flavors. The beans for our Nariño Volcánico blend are grown at altitudes of up to 1,600 meters. They also benefit from the nutrient value of the rich volcanic soil, resulting in a sweet smelling coffee with a slightly intense acidity.
At only 26 miles from the Caribbean coast, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the world’s second highest coastal range. It’s known for its homonymous national park, one of the country’s oldest. The region has also long been associated with sustainable and organic production. Our Organic Sierra Nevada is a gourmet blend produced in harmony with nature in order to sustain the area’s complex biodiversity.
We invite you to explore Colombia and its world-class coffees with Café Britt!