Colombian Coffee

colombian coffeeColombian coffee is recognized around the world for its rich soft taste.  Like with many different kinds of cultivations, there are many different species of coffee trees. There are, in fact, about 60 kinds of coffee trees and each species has several varieties.

Of the 60 species, only ten are mass produced throughout the world – the most popular being the Coffea Arabica, Coffea Canephora, and Coffea Liberica.

The highest quality and best coffee comes from Coffea Arabica trees. These are the only trees cultivated in Colombia. The Coffea Arabica has several varieties of trees that grow in different climates and regions. The Coffea Arabica varieties found in Colombia are the Typica, Comun, Bourbon, Caturra, Colombia and Maragogipe.

Coffee trees don’t grow overnight. It takes approximately four to five years of careful cultivation and care for a coffee tree to begin producing berries. The coffee bean plucked from the coffee tree is called a cherry.

The cherries on the trees don’t mature simultaneously, making coffee picking a difficult job. On the same branch, there will be berries of all colors from the unripe green to a ripened, deep reddish color. That’s why handpicking coffee beans is essential and part of the highest quality coffee in the world – Colombian coffee.

The average tree, when it reaches full adulthood, produces approximately one pound of coffee (that meets sorting standards to be exported) each year (455 grams).

Not all coffees are the same, and the kind of bean grown is a big determinant in the flavor of the coffee.

Coffee Arabica: The highest quality coffee beans that are low in caffeine and acidity. Arabica beans grow best in high altitudes and are the kinds of beans Colombia grows exclusively.

Coffee Robusta (Canephora): Robusta beans are grown on trees that can withstand a lot more climatic changes and temperatures than Arabica beans. The beans have twice as much caffeine and are higher in acidity than the Arabica beans. Coffees made with robusta beans are generally less expensive.

Colombian Coffee (Washed Arabica): This is the highest quality Arabica coffee. Colombian coffee beans are “washed.” This is a process that purifies and de-acidifies the beans. It gives the coffee a richer taste and stronger aroma.

The kind of bean used as well as temperature, climate, and location of the bean makes a difference. An Arabica bean in Colombia will make a different tasting bean than an Arabica bean from Kenya.

There are labels Colombian Coffee traders, importers, and exporters use to distinguish between the highest quality beans and least expensive ones. Here are the most common ways for traders to determine what beans are used and how to determine the price of the coffee in the International market:

Colombian Milds are the most expensive beans sold in the International Market. They come from the Colombian variety of the Coffea Arabica. Colombian Milds are washed Arabica beans originating in Colombia, Kenya and Tanzania. Colombian, remember, is a kind of Arabica Tree.

Other Milds follow the Colombian Milds in the international market, being the second most expensive. Other Milds are also known as Centrals because the majority of them originate in Central America and Mexico. All Other Milds come from the Arabica tree, and some of them are washed.

Brazil is the largest coffee producer in the world, followed by Colombia. Brazil coffee is unwashed arabica mixed with robusta. Brazil coffee comes from Brazil and other South American countries – not Colombia. Remember, Colombia produces Arabica coffee exclusively, not mixing its beans.

Robustas beans are grown in Africa, Asia, and some South American countries. Robustas come from the Coffea Canephora trees.

The aforementioned coffees are in order from the highest quality and most expensive to the lowest quality and least expensive coffees sold in the international market. These labels help traders identify the beans used in the coffee which, in turn, helps the traders identify how to price the different coffees accordingly.