Being the third-largest producer of coffee in the world, Colombia is definitely a heaven for coffee lovers. The country boasts with coffee of excellent quality, long tradition, and persistent growers who strive to excel the standards.
But, is Colombian coffee really the best coffee in the world? Let’s have a look at why it’s considered the best and what you can expect from the Columbian coffee flavor.
Ready for a journey to a unique South American country that seems to try its hardest to keep the rest of the world awake?
Let’s discover the best coffee brands in Colombia!
- Why is Colombian coffee so special?
- Best Colombian coffee brands
- Instant Colombian coffee brands
- Colombian coffee taste
- How to make Colombian coffee
- Colombian coffee history
- Colombian Coffee Brands: a recap
- Recommended Reading
Why is Colombian coffee so special?
Colombian coffee is unique for a couple of reasons:
Colombia mostly produces Arabica coffee
The country has a diverse climate and landscape, which enables them to grow and produce many different varieties of the coffee flavor profile.
- Traces of chocolate, nut flavors; it has more body and less acidity than other coffees from the country
- Coffee is more herbal and fruity with medium acidity but medium body
- Coffee triangle (coffee belt) is located in this zone
- Higher acidity with hints of citrus
- Produces specialty coffee with caramel and fruity notes
Coffee Triangle Colombia: Eje Cafetero
Also known as Coffee Zone, Coffee Axis or Coffee Belt, there are three regions in Colombia where they grow coffee: Caldas, Quindío, and Risaralda.
The triangle produces the majority of Colombian coffee; it has been considered many times as the best in the world. While that may depend on the taste of each individual (some love animal poop coffee!), there’s no denying that it’s still flavorful and very aromatic.
It’s the area with the soil and the climate that makes it a perfect location to grow world-class coffee. We’re not going into all details about the coffee bean types here, but in short, there are two main types of a coffee bean:
Arabica and Robusta. And Arabica is much more picky about its living area: the climate, the location, and how you treat it. And Colombia has ideal growing conditions for Arabica. Coffee is grown at high altitudes, which causes the beans to ripen more slowly and consequently also develop more flavor.
But that’s not all; the coffee in Colombia is divided further by quality: supremo is the best available. Followed by Extra, a middle-range quality coffee, and Excelso, which is a mix of the first two, considered inferior.
Colombian coffee types
Coffee growing has a long history in Colombia and now, there are many small farmers that cultivate it in the regions mentioned above.
The coffees grown in Colombia are varieties of Arabica beans:
Best Colombian coffee brands
Which are the best coffee brands from Colombia? Let’s have a look at the top 5 picks.
- Medium-dark roast
- Medium-bodied with low acidity
With citrus notes and a smooth cocoa-like finish, Don Pablo is a premium Colombian coffee, slow-roasted to order every time, ensuring the highest quality and customer satisfaction.
The history of the brand dates all the way to 1989 when a man and his wife founded it. Their facility is certified both for Food Safety and Organic Production. Coming from a family-owned company, the beans bring you a small-village authentic Colombian vibe in a cup!
Rich and smooth bean supposedly emphasizes the caramelization, which is a result of science and love in the chain of coffee production.
- Makes a rich brew
- Smooth cocoa finish
- Low acidity
- Bitter aftertaste
Perfect breakfast coffee, Don Pablo is a blend of smooth, sweet, yet rich notes that won’t easily disappoint. For best results, keep the beans in the freezer, well-sealed and take out only when you need it.
- Medium roast coffee
- Medium to high acidity, bright nutty flavor
A variety of organically-grown and Fair Trade peaberry beans, Volcanica coffee is grown at 5,000 feet elevation which makes the beans more acidic but also more aromatic and flavorful. This coffee type is rich in flavor and also a smoother bean.
The interesting part about growing this type of coffee is that it’s grown in shade, which is a traditional method and also more environmentally friendly.
If you’re looking for a sustainable coffee, Volcanica is your bean of choice. They’re also Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade.
- Rare and unique
- Grown in volcanic soil
- Fair Trade certified
- Coffee has an after-bite
This coffee is not too strong but it’s definitely full-bodied and unique (Peaberry beans make up 5% of the crop, coming from the rarest beans!), they roast the beans after you’ve made your order to ensure the highest quality.
- Light roast coffee
- Medium acidity and balanced body
Think lemon, brown sugar, and milk chocolate when wondering how this coffee tastes. A 100% Arabica coffee, this is an excellent value for money. If you’re not a fan of freezing your coffee, store it in an airtight container (mason jar).
In any case, this is a slow-roasted coffee to bring the maximum flavor to your cup, with a sunny and sweet aroma. You can detect lemon, brown sugar, and milk chocolate in there, but don’t worry, the coffee comes free of added flavors.
- 100% Arabica beans
- Great price
- Great for espresso
- Good body
- Can taste mellow
This is a good quality coffee that’s quite decent for the price and flavor value. Still, take into consideration that ordering it from any large online retailer will result in stale and dry beans.
- Medium roast
- Full-bodied, nutty and smooth flavor
A man and a donkey walk into a bar. They make delicious coffee and it becomes a world-wide demand right away. That’s Juan Valdez for you. Ho, he wasn’t a real person, if that’s what you’re wondering. A fictional character or not, his coffee is a real thing though.
And he became the face of a large marketing campaign for coffee Colombia. See more below of history of coffee. Anyway, Juan Valdez is still a respectable and recognizable coffee brand all across the world!
- No bitter aftertaste
- Fairly strong and rich
- Mild flavor
- Too pricey
Juan Valdez is a blend of good and smooth flavor that doesn’t leave any severe and lingering aftertaste. It’s not bad at all; in fact, online reviews claim it’s an excellent medium roast coffee; it’s nutty, mild, and with lovely aroma!
- Light to medium roast
- Medium acidity and full body, sweet and crisp finish
- Best to use in: all types of coffeemakers
Packed with flavor and organically sourced, Koffee Kult Colombia is a delicious coffee with a pleasing taste and packaged right after roasting. That means you get a fresh and decent quality to your doorstep.
This is a US-based artisanal roaster and family-based; they offer Colombian Huila beans of high quality. These beans are grown at 6,230ft/1,900m and processed by the wet method before they sun-dry them or dry them mechanically.
With a mild cherry taste and notes of caramel, this coffee is 100% Arabica blend of Colombian bean varieties.
- Artisan roasted coffee
- Very aromatic
- Ethically Sourced
- Resealable closure package
- Dry beans
If you’re looking for a strong cup of black coffee, this may not be for you. While it makes a lovely aromatic cup of joe, some claim it’s not the best coffee experience.
Instant Colombian coffee brands
Since Colombia produces so much coffee, it’s also an important supplier of instant coffee. That’s also what many Colombians drink. I’ve zero experience with instant coffee from Columbia, but it’s been said that it makes a smooth and good-tasting cup of instant coffee.
You’ll find some of the most famous brands in the list that use Colombian coffee to make popular instant coffee drinks:
Here are some of the best Instant coffees:
- Waka instant coffee (Arabica beans with rich, dark chocolate, and earthy flavors)
- Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Coffee (100% Arabica beans with signature walnut flavor)
- Alpine Start Instant Coffee (Arabica Colombian beans)
- Jiva Instant coffee (with smooth and citrusy flavor, freeze-dried Arabica)
Colombian coffee taste
With so many growing regions, there are big geographical and climate differences between them. That’s why it’s difficult to determine the overall Colombian coffee flavor profile.
But there are certain features that are common to the majority of Columbian coffee beans:
- it’s a mild yet well-balanced coffee, clean and bright
- medium to high acidity
- it’s sweet (chocolate, sugarcane or caramel) with hints of tropical fruits, red berries or apples
- citrusy, fruity, and very mildly spicy aroma
How to make Colombian coffee
There are plenty of methods online that promise to teach you Colombian style coffee with… khem, instant coffee, weird coffee, donkey poop coffee, and many other types of coffee.
I’ve searched far and wide and found this recipe on Colombian coffee with aguapanela. I’ve never tried it but if you have, let us know in the comments below what are your thoughts on the recipe.
There are two methods to be most recommended when it comes to brewing Colombian coffee:
- Espresso (it requires medium-dark roast and many of Colombian coffee beans are)
- Aeropress (very often recommended for Colombian coffee beans)
Apart from that, if you’re actually heading to Colombia, make sure to stop by at any of the street vendors and get yourself a cup of tinto. Tinto or inky water is sold in small cups for a few cents a cup. It’s a must-try for the real Colombian experience. Okay, it’s not the highest quality but it’s popular.
According to Thrillist and their article on Colombian coffee culture,
Tinto doesn’t refer to one particular style of preparation: it could be everything from a simple drip brewer to a pour-over cloth coffee filter (looks like a sock), to just putting grounds in the bottom of a cup and splashing them with hot water. It’s basically the Colombian equivalent of a “cup of Joe,” in that you probably won’t hear a graphic designer ordering it over ice, and more sophisticated drinkers would shy away from the label.
Colombian coffee history
Coffee has become a part of Colombia’s national identity, but it wasn’t always so. It entered the county in the 18th century and they started exporting it only in the 19th century. During the 20th century, coffee somehow became the main export of Colombia. The farmers refused to grow it at first since they believed it took too long to harvest the beans (which is about 5 years).
Nowadays, the majority of farmers grown coffee on small parts of the land. Many of the farms are family-owned and the majority of coffee growers are a part of FNC or National Colombian Coffee Growers Federation.
This group has worked hard to protect the Colombian coffee industry. It was first established back in the 1927 with the goal to represent the interests of the coffee growers.
In 1959 they have created the famous Juan Valdez (Colombian coffee bean guy), an imaginary character (and his donkey) that helped to establish the reputation of Colombian coffee worldwide. It has been an incredibly successful marketing campaign. And Juan Valdez has made Colombian coffee brands recognizable all over the world. You can easily buy Juan Valdez coffee online.
Feel free to see a short video about the history of Coffee in Colombia here:
Nowadays, the FNC works to
reach our goal of improving the quality of life of Colombian coffee growers. The FNC also supports Colombian growers in different areas such as: research and development to optimize the costs of production and improve the quality of coffee, technical assistance to coffee growers…, ensuring the Colombian coffee grower receives market premiums, carrying out programs to benefit the growers, their community and their environment
Colombian Coffee Brands: a recap
The majority of coffee coming from Colombia may be Arabica but that doesn’t mean that all coffee from this South American country is the same.
In fact, Colombia has an incredibly diverse geographical and climate features that make every packet of its coffee unique in terms of flavors and aromas. That is also the reason why Colombian coffee is the best or one of the best in the world. What’s more, the coffee is high-quality, bringing an exceptional taste to your cup.
There are many options when it comes to the best Columbian coffee brands and the good news is that you can buy Colombian coffee online easily. Columbian coffee beans bring a lovely variety into your coffee routine; even if you’re not too keen on traveling there, you can bring the Colombian vibe into your kitchen with tasty and freshly roasted beans.
While the options to the best Colombian coffee are immense, there is one that I consider slightly superior from the rest for a few solid reasons.
Volcanica Colombian Peaberry Coffee is a selection of the rarest coffee beans that embody Colombia, its history, vibes, and traditions. This is a unique twist on coffee since it’s also Fair Trade certified. This type of coffee is grown between 1650 to 1800 meters.
In terms of taste, this is a medium roast coffee with rich flavors. Each flavorful cup gives you a hint of cedar and chocolate, walnut and cherry. The coffee is smooth and intense with a well-rounded finish. It’s a clear coffee but slightly acidic. The coffee will work with
I often brew it in my French press, but you can add it to Turkish coffee maker or an espresso maker.
What are your favorite Colombian coffee brands?