If you know any Colombians, or coffee connoisseurs, we’re sure you’ve heard that Colombian café is supposed to be the best coffee in the world. While my Colombian roots and love for lattes wholeheartedly agrees with this assumption, we genuinely want to know where that came from. What qualifies Colombia to make the claim that they produce some of the best coffee in the world? We did some digging and found that it was a combination of climate, culture, and access that holds up the argument that Colombians have the best coffee.
The country produces roughly 12 percent of the world’s coffee, making it the second largest coffee exporter, after Brazil. Arabica and Robusta are the two types of coffee beans that exist, Arabic being the more preferred type. Colombia is one of the only countries in the world that exclusively grows Arabica, which is part of the reason why Colombian coffee is considered the best. What’s even more impressive is that all of the coffee included in that 12 percent is of the highest quality, the cream of the crop. Believe it or not, these bountiful beans are mostly hand-picked from small farms throughout the country.
We wouldn’t be surprised if this intimate approach to farming and cultivating the coffee beans has anything to do with the high quality of Colombian coffee. Not to mention the land is more than ideal for growing coffee beans, the high altitude and volcanic soil from the Andes mountains creates the perfect environment. This is partly due to the fact that Colombia is located in the famous “Bean Belt,” a strip around the globe where there is a tropical climate with rainy and dry seasons.
And don’t forget the gorgeous view, “The Colombian Coffee Triangle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it the perfect place to sip on a fresh brew while overlooking the Andes. But this beautiful, nutrient-filled terrain comes at a price. The rugged mountains make transporting the product to be packaged and shipped extremely difficult, but if you’ve ever ordered a Venti espresso at Starbucks, you know that we’re willing to pay the price.
Speaking of Starbucks, if you thought the caffeine habit was bad in America, we’ve got nothing on Colombia.
Coffee culture there is crazy, Colombians will drink multiple cups of coffee throughout the day, even right before bed. However, coffee consumption in Colombia is considered more of a social activity intended to enjoy amongst friends, rather than a jolt of energy like Americans use it for. While it’s not uncommon to see people selling tinto (a simple black coffee) out of a thermos for mere cents on the streets, coffee shops are popping up everywhere in the country.
Juan Valdez-branded coffee shops are growing significantly and popping up in all of the major cities. While some locations just offer the basics, others have taken to the hipster coffee shop model of pour-overs and coffee tastings. The biggest difference between a Colombian and American coffee shop is that when you’re in America you’re deciding between Colombian, Kenyan and Hawaiian coffee. In Colombia you’re selecting by specific region, heightening the country's coffee.
So not only does combination of excellent climate and location play a huge factor in the quality of Colombia's coffee, cultural influence intensifies the hype surrounding the drink. Which basically means Colombians have multiple reasons as to why their coffee is better than yours.