We find Colombian coffees just incredible. A wild combination of ecosystems, soil, altitude and climate creates a spectrum of microclimates especially favourable for growing high-quality Arabica. These microclimates reach from Huila highlands to the slopes of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta resulting in almost any kind of cup profile imaginable. Colombia lies almost directly along the equator and therefore coffee can be harvested all year round making it a dream origin for anyone looking for complexity, versatility and uniqueness.
Colombia is the third-largest coffee producing country and, depending on the year, the largest or second-largest arabica producer in the world. The country has been exporting coffee since the 19th century and has developed probably the most advanced coffee association network in all of the producing countries. One of the major driving forces behind all research and development is Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia (FNC). A non-profit organisation that started in 1927 working vigorously to improve the practices and income of the producers as well as value building of Colombian coffee.
Colombian coffee production used to be in hands of the large haciendas. Most of them went out of business when the Great Depression shook coffee prices in the 1920-1930s.
The failed ICA negotiations in 1989 resulted in coffee being subject to free-market forces. Previously regulated minimum prices dropped 75% in the following 5 years. This devastation resulted in the rise of smallholder producers.
In recent years there has been a lot of improvement in the field of processing. Traditionally washed coffees have been accompanied with natural and honey processed lots. Colombia has also been a pioneer in what’s generally being referred to as “experimental processing” that involves fermenting coffee in low oxygen or “anaerobic” conditions, controlling processing temperatures and times etc.
For the small producer making the ends meet is still extremely hard. Climate change is seriously threatening the future of coffee especially in the lower areas of the country. The political situation is extremely difficult and human rights violations are frequent. Inland transportation is slow, costly and makes more remote areas struggle for seasonal workers and reasonable pay due to high production costs. The volatility of international coffee prices is an ongoing problem all the production countries are struggling with.
It’s very important to know where your coffee is coming from.
There are many sustainability focus projects and exporters operating closely with the growers empowering them to improve their quality, minimizing the negative impact on the environment and increasing the value of the coffee they produce. We are proud to be working with some of the best.