Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Colombia

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Welcome expatriates to the rich tapestry of coffee culture in Colombia, where every sip is a journey to the heart and soul of the country. Whether you're new to Colombia or an old hand, our guide will bring you closer to the vibrant world of coffee and the local traditions that make it so special.

Origins and Production

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production Coffee has been an essential part of Colombian culture and economy for over 150 years. In fact, coffee is so deeply ingrained in Colombian society that it enjoys legal protection as a unique part of the country's heritage. But what sets Colombian coffee apart from other varieties, and where does it come from? To answer those questions, let's take a closer look at Colombia's coffee regions.

Coffee beans are grown in soil that is rich in volcanic ash, making it ideal for cultivating high-quality Arabica beans. The best regions for coffee production in Colombia are the highlands where the altitude and climate are perfect for nurturing coffee trees.

Elsewhere in the country, coffee is grown in the lowlands, but it typically does not meet the same standards for quality as the highlands.

The Colombian government has also done a lot to promote the local coffee industry. For example, the Colombian Coffee Federation (FNC) has administered a program to support small-scale coffee farmers who cultivate coffee on their farms. This program helps farmers to better manage their crops and sell their coffee beans at a fair price, ultimately leading to higher-quality coffee products for consumers.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

When it comes to coffee, Colombia has a diverse array of flavor profiles and brew styles that are unique to the country. Here are some of our favorite coffee style drinks, each with its own character and distinct flavor profile.

  1. Tinto (Espresso): Colombian espresso is a rich and flavorful brew, made with Arabica beans that are roasted to perfection. The result is a full-bodied and aromatic coffee that will wake up your senses.
  2. Café Cundiano: If you're looking for a drink that combines coffee and Colombia's tropical flavors, then Café Cundiano is the perfect choice for you. Café Cundiano combines Colombia's with Panela, an unrefined sugar made from sugarcane juice, and gardenia flowers to create a smooth and fruity coffee flavor.
  3. Café con Leche: This classic Colombian drink is a mixture of espresso and hot fresh milk, creating a creamy and delicious brew that's a perfect way to start the day.
  4. Total: Total is a unique coffee drink that combines coffee, milk, chocolate, and liquorice. The result is a rich and complex flavor profile that's sure to delight coffee lovers.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee culture in Colombia goes beyond just how coffee is brewed and consumed. In fact, coffee is an integral part of Colombian culture and plays a significant role in daily life and social interactions.

To fully experience Colombian coffee culture, here are some tips for how to embrace local customs and traditions.

  1. Respect the Union Time: In Colombia, “Una taza corta con leche y azúcar, por favor” is the traditional way to order coffee. Here the coffee is served in three shots, which are small cups with coffee, milk, and sugar. It is a very Colombian way of serving coffee, and you’ll often hear locals congratulating the waiter or waitress “Por favor, dale una nota” to indicate that the service was satisfactory. This coffee ordering method is a reflection of Colombia's relaxed and easy-going attitude. For expats looking to connect with locals, respecting this coffee ritual can go a long way towards building social connections and respecting Colombian culture.
  2. Embrace Colombian Bread: “Pan de yuca” (cassava bread) is a traditional Colombian bread that is served with coffee. The texture of the bread is light and fluffy, served fresh and hot. It is the perfect accompaniment to a rich and flavorful espresso or café con leche.
  3. Join a Coffee Tour: One of the best ways to experience Colombian coffee culture is to join a coffee tour. These tours provide an immersive experience that showcases the country's unique coffee traditions and customs. On a coffee tour, you'll get the chance to visit coffee farms, learn about coffee production, and enjoy delicious coffee in local cafes and restaurants.

Coffee is more than just a drink in Colombia, it's a lifestyle. By embracing coffee culture and respecting Colombian customs and traditions, expats can connect with local communities, learn about the country, and savor authentic Colombian coffee experiences.

So why wait? It's time to dive into the rich world of Colombian coffee culture and explore everything this vibrant community has to offer!