One of the many things Colombia is known for, is their beautiful coffee growing regions and standout coffee flavours. But where do you go when you find yourself in Colombia and in need of a brew?
Sam and I were lucky enough to spend a week traveling around the country in search for the best specialty cafés as well as micro-regions they were grown in.
Here’s our list of must-see places when in Colombia on a coffee trip.
Armenia, Colombia – Finca La Pradera
Our first stop on our origin trip with Cofi.net was Finca La Pradera in Armenia which is found in the Central and Western Andes of Colombia.
Here amongst the mountainous valleys covered in rich volcanic soil lie Cofi.net’s own 150 year old family farm and the core of their natural processing plant.
Our popular Colombian single origin – Jairo Arcila Natural Castillo – is produced here.
From our bedroom windows, our view was of the lush mountains of the region which contain the ideal conditions for producing some of the highest quality specialty coffee.
Here we saw many varietals of coffee – Pink Bourbons, Yellow Tabi, Castillo - undergoing various experimental processing methods that are easily replicated at typical coffee farms to increase the complexity and quality of the cup profile.
They have added white wine yeast to washed coffee and microorganisms to naturals and the results have been exceptional, pushing otherwise unspectacular coffees scoring into the 90s.
Buenavista, Quindio – Café San Alberto
A little south of Armenia you’ll find Buenavista sitting about 1,500m above sea level and looking over the valleys under it. Here we found one of our favourite farms Finca La Divisa run by Diofanor Ruiz.
Diorfanor prides himself on his biodynamic farm, meaning there is minimal use of chemical fertilisers. He relies solely on the variety of plant life and insects to create a sustainable cycle.
Between the plants, stunning panorama and pops of colour you can really feel that Finca La Promesa is bursting with life.
On the way back down from the high-altitude farm, stop at the beautiful Café San Alberto and enjoy their specialty coffee and alternate brewing styles.
Unlike Australia, Colombia’s preferred brewing style is filter – V60, Chemex, Syphon etc.
There is a large focus on entertaining the customer and walking you through the whole brewing process at your table. It is personalised to you and they are available to answer any coffee questions you have. This unique experience paired with the vista in front of you makes Café San Alberto a must stop.
Circasia, Quindio – Ktarte. Specialty Coffee Shop
North of Armenia by only 30mins is an amazing coffee shop that showcases some of Colombians greatest flavours. We arrived around 6pm and the café was still buzzing with locals watching the football and drinking coffee.
Ktarte also personalises the coffee brewing experience by brewing and serving you at your table, talking you through everything you need to know about how the coffee is roasted and what the particular brewing method you’ve chosen delivers in the cup.
Very interesting for all levels of coffee lovers.
My favourite V60 filter here was a washed Colombian from Diego Bermuos scoring 91points. I fell in love with the silky texture and the combination of honey, lime and eucalyptus notes that I brought home 250g! They also brew a killer Java cascara tea which you must try.
We didn’t come here for coffee, but dinner and some fun! If you’re looking for a great selection of food (sushi, pizza etc) Container City has this and more. Explore the different levels, try a variety of food and listen to some great music. A local stop in Armenia with a good vibe. It’s owned by Andreas Londoño, a local coffee farmer who roasts and supplies coffee to Avianca Airline.
There was no better way to spend a birthday!
Over 2000m above sea level, we drove for what seemed like hours up the steep mountains of Quindio to get to Leonid Ramirez’s farm. A humble farmer with a million-dollar view. Growing Gesha, Castillo, Tabi just to name a few. We were lucky to have him walk us around the property, visiting his germination areas and growing regions.
A bustling little town, this is where we hung out for a few hours, had dinner at Helena and walked around the small colourful streets. There are lots of food options and shops to wander around in. It is a tourist stop but who doesn’t love a bit of tourist action every now and then?
La Floresta, Pijao
The final coffee shop on our Colombian tour.
In Australia coffee time is like 6am. Colombia? 6pm. Why? I don’t know. It’s basically non-existent to have a specialty café open past 4pm here. Well this one we were at until well past 8pm. And damn it was worth it.
The café and farmer owner is also our barista. Flicking his collapsible glasses open from his chest pocket, he began brewing filters and espressos with his own bean. His stunning coffee paired with local street food Arepa, topped our Colombian trip off.
Please go and see these places if you have time. Supporting local coffee specialists around the world, is something we really want to promote and support! If you do go, tag us in some photos @alfrescocoffeeroasters and tell us what bean you had!