Colombian coffee is regarded by many as the highest quality coffee in the world and the farmers take great care and attention to their trees throughout the year to produce the very finest coffee beans.
Colombia has traditionally grown Arabica beans and its unique geography makes it perfectly suited for producing this beautiful crop.
Colombia’s excellent growing conditions places Colombia third in global coffee production with Brazil first and surprisingly Vietnam is second with their recent market entry and rapidly expanding production of Robusta coffees.
Over 500,000 farms, most of them small landholdings of 5 hectares or less are scattered across the zonas cafeteras, some of the most biologically diverse landscapes in the world. When I was in Colombia, the farmers told us that there were more bird species in their mountainous area than the whole of the bird population of the USA and I could well believe it when we looked to the skies!
Colombia is bisected by the Andes Mountains which splits into three parallel cordilleras (mountain ranges) as they run south to north. Much of the nation’s coffee is grown in this area. In fact, Conservation International calls the Colombian Andes the “richest and most diverse region on earth,” noting that the whole of the tropical Andes chain contains one sixth of the world’s plant species in only one percent of its land area.
No one knows exactly when coffee arrived in what is now Colombia.
Some think the bean came with Jesuit priests in the seventeenth century, but the first shipment of coffee overseas wasn’t until 1835, when 2500 pounds of coffee headed from Colombia to the United States.
The vast majority of the nation’s coffee is grown under shade with 1.4 million hectares under canopy and only 717,000 hectares grown in full sun. The rainforest, altitude, temperature and soil produce the ideal environment for coffee trees and once roasted and brewed in the cup, we can all understand why Colombian coffee is just so popular.