Coffee from Colombia (kuh•luhm•bee•uh) has been a staple at Sagebrush since the very beginning. We continue to offer them because they are versatile, incredibly smooth to drink, and often sell very well. If you drink coffee, you have most likely had a cup of Colombian coffee in your lifetime. Many restaurants serve a Colombian blend for their morning coffee, and the origin is usually a top seller at grocery stores. So why are Colombian coffees so accessible and well-liked?
Colombian Coffee History & Geography
The origin story of Colombian beans has been told through several different accounts. Although there is no definite answer, most people believe coffee was introduced to Colombia in 1723 by the Jesuits. Coffee as a commercial crop was received quite slowly by the various regions of the country. Colombia's coffee production did not pick up significantly until the end of the 19th century, and by 1912 coffee made up 50% of their total imports. What set Colombia apart from other coffee distributors was its focus on branding and marketing. A farmer named Juan Valdez became the "poster boy" of Colombian coffee with an image of him and his donkey, Conchita, being the symbol that appeared on bags and advertising campaigns. This specific branding added value to Colombian coffee and made it recognizable around the world.
Colombia has become the third largest producer of coffee in the world, with the export now being controlled by a national federation called the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros or FNC. This organization protects the interest of coffee producers and has a role in marketing, financial matters, and the development of infrastructure. A major component of Colombia’s success with coffee is the country’s ideal climate and growing conditions. Colombian coffees are grown in elevations ranging from 1,200 to 1,800 meters. The mountainous and tropical terrain, mild climate, and high rainfall create the perfect geography for producing coffees that are rich with flavor. The harvesting season varies due to the geographic size of Colombia. Most crops are harvested between September and January, while certain areas harvest from April to August. This continual output of crops allows for more stable pricing and a consistent supply of beans to North America.
Typical Flavor Profiles of Colombian Coffee
Colombian coffees stand out because they have a large number of varieties that stem from a number of different growing areas. This variety produces a vast range of flavors and can make it tricky to jot down a set of flavors particular to Colombia. Some coffees have bolder, chocolatier notes while others are bright with a sweet, fruity mouthfeel.
The coffee is often smooth, medium-bodied, and its somewhat mild flavor makes it an excellent choice for espressos. Colombian beans are unique in that they can be roasted dark without becoming overly bitter. Colombia is one of the few origins we have carried that over time we have marketed as a light, medium, and dark roast. This goes to show how versatile Colombian beans truly are.