Colombia is almost synonymous with coffee. For decades, American coffee drinkers have flocked to the legendary beans from this country. When you picture the delicious smell of a fresh brewed batch of coffee, you’re picturing the smell of Colombian coffee. But what is it that makes the coffee grown in Colombia such a delicacy? It turns out that the economy, terrain, and culture of Colombia, and the very coffee industry, makes this region the ideal place to grow those rich, caramelly beans.
Colombia is the second largest coffee exporter in the world, producing more than 10% of the world’s coffee. It’s also the only major coffee grower to only produce Arabica beans, which are the premium crops to grow. The country’s very economy is largely oriented growing the world’s best coffee beans, motivating plantations to ensure their product’s quality. It’s vital to the region’s heritage of premium coffee.
Colombia is a very mountainous region that experiences over 80 inches of rainfall per year, and temperatures never fall below freezing. These are the ideal agricultural conditions for growing delicious coffee beans. Add that the the country’s economic orientation towards coffee, as well as the cultural history of coffee farmers, and you have quality beans that are grown with delicate care.
Coffee From Farm to Kitchen
Of course, coffee growing is a complex industry. To take a fragile plant, grow premium crops, distribute them to roasters around the world, roast the beans, deliver them to stores, and get them in your kitchen takes a massive infrastructure. Colombian coffee fits into this system perfectly, from the local economy in Colombia to the roasting process. So you can really get a solid understanding of why Colombian coffee is so good by understanding how coffee goes from the farm to your kitchen.
How Climate Affects The Coffee Beans
Climate is the defining factor in getting a premium, delicious coffee bean. Arabica plants, which are the only kind grown in colombia, are much less resilient than their Robusta counterparts. So while they taste much better, they’re difficult to grow. Coffee is sensitive to altitude, sunlight, soil quality, humidity, rainfall, temperature, and more. That’s why most Arabica beans are grown in tropical climates like East Africa, Indonesia, and South America.
Colombia just happens to be one of the best places in the world to grow coffee. Its high altitude and precipitation work with its temperature and humidity to get you the perfect beans. It’s warm, humid, and gets plenty of rainfall. So compared to other regions, you’ll get a bean that’s full of that rich, toasty flavor.
The Importance of Roasting
Once you’ve shipped your beans out, it’s important to roast them. Beans are rarely roasted in their growth region, with the notable exception of Costa Rica and Hawaii, which have their own large coffee markets. But Sumatra, Ethiopia, Guatemala, you name it, and all of the coffee export is green beans. These beans have to be packaged to preserve their potent flavor before arriving at their roaster and being roasted.
Colombia perfectly preserves their beans to ensure a fresh, fragrant delivery. Traditionally, beans were always made to be dark roast, which is what gives us that characteristic toasty, bold smell and taste. Recently, however, roasters have perfected light and medium roasts, resulting in a dynamic range of options for coffee consumption. Whether it’s dark or light, Colombian coffee will give you a satisfying, flavorful brew.
Grinding Beans Yourself
Of course, the final step before brewing your coffee is the grind. Whether you’re doing french press or espresso, the grind releases the aroma and lets hot water extract the oils and particles out of the beans. You can buy your beans pre-ground, or you can buy them whole bean and grind them yourself. But if you do buy your beans pre-ground, you’ll want to make sure you store it properly to make sure it lasts a while.
Colombian coffee is always going to be Arabica, so when you grind your beans, you’re going to get a rush of that powerful aroma. It’s a good all around coffee, so no matter how you grind it, you’ll get a delicious brew.
Colombian Compared To Other Coffees
Obviously, Colombian coffee isn’t the only coffee on the market. So how does it stack up to the competition? In almost every category, Colombian coffee is going to end up on top. It has a taste that is unparalleled, gives you just the right kick of caffeine, and is often competitively priced compared to other Arabica beans. So if you’re new to coffee and looking to ensure a delicious roast, try Colombian beans.
Colombian beans have a rich flavor
Colombia’s rich soil and ideal climate are perfect for imparting a rich flavor to your beans. Any flavor is going to be the result of the complex chemical structure of the coffee. Of course, this chemical composition is going to be heavily impacted by the nutrients available to the plant during growth. So a nutrient dense soil is going to help the coffee beans get more of those oils and aromatics that turn plain water into a delicious cup of java.
Flavor is, of course, subjective. You may want a bright and fruity flavor with a light roast, or you want a deep and chocolatey cup of joe. Colombian coffee is an all-around excellent bean for any type of coffee. If it’s roasted lightly, it’ll get that sweet, citrusy tang. Or if you go all the way to extra dark, it’ll have a bold and toasty flavor. Perfect for any coffee enthusiast’s tastes.
Low caffeine content
Caffeine is one of the big reasons that Americans drink so much coffee. It’s the perfect way to wake up in the morning, or it helps you make it through that early afternoon drowsiness. There are a few things that impact a bean’s caffeine content, namely whether it’s a Robusta or an Arabica bean. Arabica beans actually have about half the caffeine of Robusta, so Colombian coffee is not going to be the most caffeinated option.
However, most coffee you drink is already Arabica. So Colombian beans will have the same impact on your energy levels as most other beans you have. And, if you want to avoid having a severe caffeine crash, or if you’re sensitive to caffeine, you’ll want to avoid Robusta beans anyways. You can also find Colombian beans that have been decaffeinated, making these delicious beans accessible to anyone.
Price compared to regular coffee
Arabica beans tend to be much more expensive than Robusta ones, which brings the price of Colombian coffee up a bit. Of course, this is absolutely worth it, since Robusta beans don’t taste nearly as good as Arabica ones. And the farm quality of the beans will bring the price up a bit too, since these beans are grown with care.
Compared to other Arabica beans, however, Colombian Coffee doesn’t cost much more. This strain of coffee plant is already more expensive, so when you compare apples to apples, Colombia is not more expensive than the rest. And once you factor in the quality of the farming, you really raise the value of these beans.
Arabica beans are the premium strand of coffee, packing tons of flavor into each cup. When you have gourmet coffee, it’s an Arabica, and that’s a huge part of why Colombian coffee tastes so good. It’s the only coffee exporter in the world to make only Arabica beans, which is why you don’t have to wonder if your Colombian beans are going to taste great.
How Should You Prepare Colombian Coffee?
Colombian coffee is one of the most versatile roasts in the world. You can use these beans with any brew method and still get the best results. Depending on your coffee’s roast profile, you’re going to have different results, but it will always be one of the best tasting cups you can get. However, that iconic coffee flavor comes from a rich, dark roast, so consider starting with a bold dark roast.
Colombian will work with any brew method, so a lot of it comes down to preference. Of course, drip coffee is the standard way Americans brew their coffee in the morning. But if you have an espresso machine, you’ll love the powerful, bold taste of each shot. Pour over will work for getting all of the fruity and toasty flavor out of your beans, and french press gives you a concentrated brew.
Making The Best Cup With Colombian Coffee
Coffee is a delicious part of the morning routine, giving you a fragrant, energetic start to your day. The toasty flavor in a fresh, hot cup of joe can be irresistable, and Colombian coffee will do the best job of any bean of giving you that perfect cup. The economy, culture, and climate of Colombia make sure these beans are the best in the world. The fact that all of these beans will be Arabica is indicative of the region’s dedication to quality coffee. By picking these legendary beans, you’re guaranteeing a delicious, fragrant brew.