Coffee Culture in Colombia
Even though the coffee bramble comes from Africa, when we talk about it, we consequently consider Colombia. If the origin isn’t liable for its notoriety, we could imagine that the connection our brain makes between this product and Colombia is because it is the biggest producer on the planet, but the truth is that this title is held by Brazil. So, why is Colombia the most famous coffee producer in the world?
A little bit of history
Coffee in Colombia has about 300 years of history since the Jesuits brought it in the XVIII century. In the year 1835, the first sacks produced in the eastern zone were exported from the customs office of Cúcuta.
The increase in coffee making in Colombia is attributed to the Jesuit priest Francisco Romero in a town in Norte de Santander called Salazar de las Palmas. When his faithful went to confession, the priest imposed on them to plant coffee as a penance to redeem their sins. Thanks to that, they say that the production of coffee expanded to other departments and by 1850 had reached Cundinamarca, Antioquia, and Caldas.
By the end of the XXI century, the production had grown from 60,000 sacks to more than 600,000 sacks – clarifying that the majority of this production was from the farms of large landowners – and by the end of the XXI century coffee was already the main export product that gave Colombia a profit in foreign currency.
The progress between the XX to the XXI century carried with it an incredible fall in worldwide costs and therefore an emergency for the huge landowners that totally changed the scene. This inclined toward the little makers that had been developing and the administration of espresso advancement was moved toward the areas in the West.
In 1927 the National Federation of Coffee Growers was created in order to represent coffee farmers and watch over their rights. In 1938 the research center, CENICAFE, was born, responsible for achievements such as the Castillo variety resistance to plagues such as rust. In 1959 two key events took place: the character of Juan Valdez was born, then the Colombian Coffee office was opened in Tokyo, making Japan today the second-largest consumer of Colombian Coffee in the world. In 1984 the distinctive seal of Café de Colombia was created in order to identify its originality in all corners of the world.
Quality: the key to its success?
We could expect that the acclaim of Colombia’s Coffee is spurred by its excellence. Actually, the product is exceptionally valued in the remainder of the world. It has 4 public categories of origin (Cauca, Santander, Huila, and Antioquia) and since 2005 it also has had a denomination of origin granted by the European Union.
What makes it different from other coffees?
- The variety: Coffee growers plant Arabica coffee exclusively. This kind is considered the most appreciated due to its flavor and aroma.
- Geographical qualities: The coffee plant needs specific conditions in order to grow fruits full of flavor. Due to its geography, Colombia has an optimal tropical climate and high mountains, which are ideal for coffee cultivation.
The processes: The main aspect that makes Colombian coffee different from others is the form of harvest. These coffee growers hand pick the best fruits, which leads to a better flavor. It also ensures a coffee of exceptional quality. This method is more tedious; however, the hard labor is repaid by the recognition and high status that Colombian coffee has gained around the world.
Juan Valdez, the ambassador of coffee in Colombia
The National Federation of Coffee Growers is an organization that has represented coffee growers nationally and internationally since 1927 and is largely responsible for the success of its products around the world.
In 1959 they had the great idea of creating a character that would represent the 500,000+ Colombian coffee farmers by symbolizing tenacity and work philosophy, thus Juan Valdez was born. The advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach was in charge of designing this character and managed to turn Valdez into a symbol of Colombia for the rest of the world.
The Juan Valdez brand is a famous advertising landmark globally. The coffee grower accompanied by his mule, Conchita, is part of the logo that represents 100% Colombian coffee.
The fame of the character has led him to participate in multiple television programs, movies, and series. His first audiovisual appearance dates back to 1983 and since then 3 different people have embodied the figure of the farmer (every one of them with ample trajectory in the matter).
Without a doubt, if their coffee were not of excellent quality, it would not have achieved the success and fame that characterize it. In any case, it must be recognized that Juan Valdez is largely responsible for its worldwide recognition.
Transforming the seed into a cup
It is essential to recognize the work and exertion of many individuals that guarantee the nature of the eventual outcome for buyers from one side of the planet to the other.
The cycle starts with the exploration of assortments and development strategies by researchers at the Cenicafé research center, presumably the most progressive coffee-related center on the planet. The 540,000 families that harvest coffee in the nation get data from Cenicafé to guarantee the nature of their harvests through the Extension Service of the National Federation of Coffee Growers.
Steps to produce coffee:
- Germination of seeds in a bag until a plant is formed.
- Transfer of plants to pots for sun exposure.
- Plantation of seedlings in the field
- Harvest of fruits by hand (it is essential to do it manually in order to obtain higher quality grains)
- The fruit is pulped through a machine preserving the grain.
- Fermentation of the grain
- Cleansing the grain to remove the mucilage
- Drying to remove humidity
- Threshing the coffee to remove the parchment
- Roasting the coffee to evoke the flavor
- Grinding the coffee
- Preparing and enjoying a cup of delicious coffee!
The Influence of Coffee in Colombian Culture
Along almost 3,000 kilometers of inter-Andean valleys, from the extreme south to the extreme north of Colombia, live the 540,000 coffee-growing families in the coffee-growing regions of the country. The vast majority live on small farms or plots of land whose coffee crops, on average, do not exceed 2 hectares.
The character Juan Valdez is a perfect representation of Colombian coffee growers: cheerful human beings that are concerned about maintaining a relationship of conservation and care with the environment that surrounds them. Throughout the years, Colombians have been known for being caring, gentle, and giving. Perhaps these qualities come from the devotion they have always had to their lands and neighbors.
The coffee-growing families unite through their principles of democratic participation, solidarity, commitment, search for well-being, sustainable development, and forming a model of peace for Colombia. This coffee culture has passed from generation to generation. To this day, young people still follow this model of life, and both their community and the National Federation of Coffee Growers seek better and greater ways of inclusion in the coffee activity. These people are 100% dedicated to transmitting the best of themselves in their activity.
Most growers in Colombia won’t mind if you come to their land and visit the crops. In fact, they will proudly offer a cup of their own coffee for you to taste. There are specialized places that will sell guided tours for cheap in order to incentivize the purchase of local products. While doing so, you can interact and evidence the kindness and richness of Colombian coffee culture.
Try El Dorado Café
Colombian coffee growers prioritize family values, dedication, and hard work in order to obtain the best quality in their products. El Dorado Café shares the same virtues, prioritizing hospitality and outstanding quality products. The brand guarantees a thorough process of selection and concoction of coffee grains, providing an outcome that meets all national and international standards for coffee production. Besides the exquisite flavor of El Dorado Café coffee, the company also abides for the rights of Colombian coffee growers, protecting their integrity and patrimony. By purchasing their products, you are supporting local families and a lifelong tradition.
For El Dorado Café, it is a pleasure to announce the sale of new products that satisfy all types of palates on their website. El Dorado school has developed a unique way of producing coffee that brings out all the notes of flavor present in Colombian coffee grains. By acquiring El Dorado products, you are fortifying the Colombian tradition and keeping it alive for more years to come. It is essential to offer support to local communities that are underrepresented and often exploited by massive companies. There is a humane aspect to the business as well and El Dorado must acknowledge the coffee growers’ lifelong effort and sacrifice to bring the best products to your home. You don’t want to miss out on El Dorado Café’s amazing offer!