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Best Colombian Coffee – Colombian Coffee Brands Review

Have you ever wondered what the best coffee in the world is? That’s a hotly debated topic that in no way has an easy answer. The reason for that is the fact that several producing regions on the planet compete for the title of the best coffee, each with its own peculiar characteristics.

Since the past few decades, the race for quality has emerged and makes competition fiercer than ever. In this scenario, coffees grown in the tropics, mainly in the countries of the Americas, are identified as the main exponents. But no matter whom you ask. One thing is for sure: Colombian coffee is one of the greatest coffees in the world.

In fact, UNESCO even recognizes the Colombian coffee region as a World Heritage Site, describing it as “an exceptional example of a sustainable and productive cultural landscape.” In this article, we present the main characteristics of Colombian coffee and mention common points, and the main differences in cultivation practices of Colombia’s coffee, the world’s third-largest coffee exporter.

colombian coffee

Colombian Coffee Brand List – Best Colombian Coffee Beans

In the consumer market, Colombian coffee is divided into categories according to size.

The reason for these categories is that larger beans are richer in flavor. As such, the bigger the bean, the higher it’s quality.

In this hierarchy, the highest grade is named Supremo and is according to experts, the best Colombian coffee, due to having the largest beans. In sequence, the second degree is Extra and the third. Excelso is an inferior mixture of the first two categories.

Until recently, many traders used to mix Colombian coffee with that of other countries. However, in light of the coffee market’s development, which values the traceability of the beans from the origin of the beans until it reaches your cup. The practice has fallen into disuse.

It’s also important to note that some companies are based in Colombia, while others are American roasters that import and roast high-quality Colombian grains.

Below, we present the Colombian coffee brands of the highest quality and most consumed in the international market.

Don Pablo Colombian Supremo – Best Colombian Coffee

Characteristics: A Colombian supremo coffee of extreme quality, grown in regions higher than 1.200 meters, has a selected harvest and is roasted in small batches.

Sensory profile: Don Pablo is a coffee with a sweet, rich, and smooth flavor with a medium body and a slight acidity for citrus notes. The medium-dark roast promotes caramelization that highlights the natural sugars of the grain. The effect is the profusion of lightly smoked, nutty, and dark chocolate notes.

Volcanica Colombian Peaberry – Best Tasting Colombian Coffee

Characteristics: Known for its careful selection that favors only top-quality beans, the result of a genetic mutation in each crop (about 5% of the crop). Colombian Peaberry coffee is considered a rarity among the Supremo coffees. The 100% Arabica production is grown on volcanic soil and altitudes between 1.650 and 1.800 meters.

Sensory profile: Peaberry notes have a mild flavor, reminiscent of cherry, chocolate, malt, and nuts. The aftertaste is slightly astringent, and highlights notes of chocolate and nuances of wood Medium roasting is the brand’s main practice.

Koffee Kult Columbia Huila – Best Colombian Gourmet Coffee

Product characteristics: Coffee is grown on small family farms in the Huila region (Garzon. Pitalito. and Neiva) with an average altitude of 1.900 meters, using manual handling techniques. The brand promotes medium roasting and small batches (made in the USA). In the market, the sale takes place in whole beans and in packages with airtight closure, a move that guarantees the maximum freshness of the product.

Sensory profile: Varieties of caturra, Castillo, and typica are the most traditional in the brand’s coffees. In common, they present a striking body, notes of cinnamon and caramel, cherry flavor, and a brilliant finish.

Eight O’clock Pure Colombian Coffee – Best Colombian Coffee Brand

Product characteristic: Founded in 1859, the North American brand selects, roasts, and markets specialty coffees from around the world. The 100% Colombian is selected exclusively in regions of high altitudes, and rich volcanic soils, harvested at their ideal maturation The roast is medium. The product has the Rainforest Alliance seal of approval.

Sensory profile: 100% Colombian coffee that is smooth and brings wine notes as a differential. This is one of the best Colombian coffee brands.

Organic Colombia Java Planet – Best Coffee In Colombia

Product characteristics: Based in Florida (USA). Java Planet is known for working with special and organic grains, selected in the main producing regions of the planet Colombian is sold in whole beans and takes a medium-dark roast.

Sensory profile: Smooth, with mild acidity and balanced flavor.

So, Which One is the Best Colombian Coffee for YOU?

Well, it depends!

Do you prioritize a medium roast? Then, Volcanica Colombian Peaberry, Koffee Kult Columbia Huila or Eight-o-Clock coffee might be the option for you.

A medium-dark roast? Then Java Planets, Don Pablo Colombian Supreme might be your favorite.

Are you looking for extra citrus notes? Go fo Don Plabo’s.

Caramel? Go for Koffee Kult or Don Plabo’s.

Not sure yet? Then feel free to try them out!

There’s no harm in trying different brands and seeing which ones fit you best.

what is the best colombian coffee

The Taste of Colombian Coffee

A geographic region is full of microclimates. Colombia gives rise to Arabica coffee varieties and diversified terroir, which generates drinks of varied flavors.

The peculiarity in the harvest periods, carried out twice a year depending on the region (both from April to August and from September to January), also interferes with the flavor profile of the grain.
What is commonly noted by baristas and connoisseurs is that Colombian coffees are generally smooth and well balanced, independent of variety or crop.

Their acidity levels ranging from medium to high with a medium silky body (texture). Often with a pronounced sweetness, they are one of the easier varieties to drink.

Some classify the flavor profiles of the grains according to the producing region.

The North generally produces coffees with notes of chocolate and nuts and less acidity.

The Central region is recognized for examples rich in herbal and fruity flavors.

And the South gives rise to grains with marked acidity and more citrus aromas.

In the consumer market. Colombian coffee is one of the favorites as a basis for extraction using the espresso method. This is because it receives medium and medium-dark toasts without being too bitter. The characteristic is highlighted by the fresh grind, which allows the preservation of the grain oils, enriching the experience.

Among the most produced coffees in Colombia, the bourbon, typical, caturra and maragogipe are some of Colombia’s most famous varieties.

real colombian coffee

The History Behind Colombian Coffee

According to legend, it was the Jesuit missionaries who took coffee to Colombia in the mid-1700s. But historical data suggests that the production and marketing of the first coffee sacks exports began in 1835, from Salazar de las Palmas, North of Santander, From Cucuta, the main port of the country at the time, the fruit of coffee trees were marketed to cities in Europe, and by 1860 coffee was already the main export product of Colombia.

Since then, coffee cultivation has spread mainly through family farming, developed on small high-altitude properties, with an average altitude between 1.200 and 2.000 meters.

The volcanic soil – extremely fertile -. the presence of microclimates (with temperatures varying from 8 to 24 degrees Celcius). The variety of elevation of crops, the peculiar regime of rain, and exposure of plants to the sun were determining factors for the superior quality of the grains produced there, almost entirely Arabica varieties.

It comes precisely from there – the specificities of the Colombian terroir – one of the biggest reasons for the high-quality of local coffee production: Arabica varieties do well at high altitudes, a characteristic that requires manual management of crops.

It is not by chance that the harvest of coffee cherries is 100% manual, selected fruit by fruit.
As a result, Colombia was one of the first countries in the world to emerge in the production and trade of coffee aimed at different markets and demographics.

good colombian coffee

The Andes and The Producing Regions

Throughout the 20th century, coffee became a primary product in Colombian exports. In 1999. coffee production represented 3.7% of the national gross domestic product (GDP) and 37% of agricultural employment. Currently, coffee production in Colombia involves no less than half a million farmers and remains one of the country’s main economic activities.

According to recent data, Colombia exports 11.000.000 bags of coffee annually, an amount that generates an average of US$2.58 billion in revenue. The country produces 12% of the coffee traded in the world, and occupies the third position in the world ranking, behind only Vietnam, the second-biggest producer and Brazil, the world’s biggest coffee producer.

Colombia’s coffee properties are located across 22 regions, with three main axes or groups: North. Central, and South.

The region between the cities of Cali. Medellin and Bogota are known as the Eje Cafetero (Coffee Axis) or Triangulo del Cafe (Coffee Triangle).

The highlands of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the slopes of the Andes that cross the country are also famous for the quality of their crops.

To give you an idea, the largest central region around Medellin, Armenia, and Manizales comprises almost 14,000 square kilometers and is known as the Colombian coffee growing axis. The production is marketed in a single seal. The mountainous region between the cities of Bogota and Bucaramanga is smaller, but not any less important.

Among the main producing hubs are Narino, Norte de Santander. Antioquia. Vale do Cauca. Huila. Tolima. Caldas. Risaralda. Quindio. and Cundinamarca. among others.

The most famous coffee-producing region, known as the “coffee belt*, is the central part of the country that includes the departments of Caldas. Quindio, and Risaralda. This is the heart of Colombian coffee.

Further south, closer to the Equator, coffees are grown at higher altitudes due to the higher temperatures.

This allows the coffee to ripen more slowly and thus develop more flavor The yield is lower but these are some of the most popular grains that the country has to offer.

Colombia vs The World

Okay, so far we have covered some of the main characteristics of Colombian coffees and why they are almost exclusively aimed at the international market.

But how does coffee production in the Andean country differ from the rest?

First of all, it is important to remember that coffee is a terroir product.

In other words, crops and fruit are influenced by geography, climate, soil, and rainfall. Often, the same cultivar gives rise to different quality crops and flavors.

Hence, a natural conclusion is that each coffee is unique

It is up to you, a consumer of coffees, to choose the style and flavor that best match your consumption profile!

Particularities of Production

In addition to the specific terroir of each country and region, it is also possible to list other differences that make the Colombian coffee stand out from the rest

In Colombia most producers work with washed coffee. That is, after harvesting, the ripe fruits are soaked in water to be pulped and then fermented, for a period between 12 and 36 hours.

After fermentation, the fruits are naturally dried in the sun. Wet processing is a technique that results in a cleaner, brighter, and more fruity product and impacts on the acidity of the coffee. For this reason, the Colombian drink is considered smoother.

This type of handling causes Colombian coffee to be sold on the international market under the type C contract, which designates washed type coffee and which needs to be sold within a maximum of 6 months, at the risk of losing important characteristics, such as color and aroma.

In many other countries, such as Brazil, the biggest coffee producer in the world, coffee is dry processed (still inside the fruit).

The process, called ‘natural”, makes the grain contain much of the sweetness, a characteristic that will continue when it reaches the cup and creates flavors that are different from Colombia’s process.

what is the best colombian coffee

Juan Valdez and the Assertive Marketing of Colombian Coffee

We have already said that Colombia produces almost exclusively 100% Arabica varieties.
But what you might not know is that it was mainly government support for local coffee of superior origin that ensured the country’s worldwide fame in the coffee industry.

Since the middle of the last century, the Colombian government has recognized the economic potential of its coffee industry.

So much so that it chose the product as part of the country’s national identity, created a national body for the development of the production chain – the Colombian Federation of Producers (FNC) and. in tow a marketing campaign that went down in history: the dissemination of the Juan Valdez brand.

The campaign, which started in 1959. brings together the 22 producing regions and personifies the Colombian coffee producer: a farmer who loves and lives on coffee, taking care of his beans as if he were growing gold.

The brand established a standard of commercial activity with a focus on the premium coffee market, creating a perception of very high quality in large consumer markets through the promotion of the brand and the opening of its own coffee shops and e-commerce operations.

In addition to assertive marketing, which has been a success for over six decades, the government and the FNC are working on the continuity of projects aimed not only at generating profits, but also research, training, environmental protection and community development that contribute positively to half a million coffee growers from Colombia

As such, it is no surprise then, why Juan Valdez is probably the most popular and one of the best Colombian coffees in the Market.

Final Words

Many coffee aficionados may say that there is no secret in the preparation. That it’s all the same.
But that’s simply not true.

Who has never been a victim of practically inedible coffee?

Or had a cup of coffee that is addictive and makes you want to keep drinking it?

The quality of coffee goes far beyond just preparation The quality of the coffee you drink is steeped in history.

From the origin of the beans to its impact on culture and how each brand treats this precious resource.

And hopefully, this article has helped you better understand what the best Colombian coffees are. and how Colombian coffee has an impact not only it’s own country and society, but the rest of the world as well. If you want more guides, check out our Japanese coffee guide, and our Turkish coffee guide!

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About David Dewitt

Hi, my name is David and I come from Columbus, Ohio. I am a amateur photographer, and a coffee lover. I love to write, and don't mind me a cup of joe!