Thursday 4 April 2013


Hello from Salento in the heart of coffee country. A very relaxing 4 days up in the mountains of central Colombia, where we stayed at the rather up market (certainly for Overlanders, there was hot water and even a pool!) Hacienda Venecia coffee plantation for two days and have been in Salento for the past two days. Salento is a small town surrounded by stunning scenery and lots and lots of coffee plantations.

During our stay at Hacienda Venecia I went on a very informative tour of the coffee estate and enrolled on a coffee tasting course.

10 Colombian coffee facts you probably did not know

1) Colombia is the world’s 4th largest coffee producer after Brazil, Vietnam & Indonesia. Strict export quality controls are employed to ensure that only the best quality coffee is exported. This means that the domestic coffee is actually rather poor. Only Arabica beans are grown as these thrive at higher altitude and have a higher net worth on the export market.

2) The central part of Colombia (the main coffee growing area) enjoys two wets seasons and two dry seasons, meaning that two coffee crops per year are possible. Productivity is therefore much higher in Colombia than most other coffee growing countries.

3) Coffee originated in Ethiopia, East Africa and was introduced to South America by the Dutch in the 17th century.

4) Professional coffee tasters learn 36 different flavours/aromas to help them dissect individual coffee tastes. One of which is roasted coffee beans? Other flavours include rubber, pipe tobacco and basmati rice.

5) It is OK to keep coffee in the freezer as long as it is in an airtight container. Roasted coffee is only about 0.5% water and therefore crystallisation is minimal.

6) Arabica beans contains less caffeine than Robusta beans and an espresso contains less caffeine than percolated coffee as the water takes only 20 seconds to pass through the coffee, rather than several minutes. It takes a while for caffeine to be absorbed by the water.

7) A coffee plant should be productive after 7 years and will produce fruit for approximately 27 years. New plants are planted in a different location to prevent soil erosion.

8) Due to the geography (steep mountain sides) and multiple harvests, all Colombia coffee is harvested by hand. The fruit is picked when it is fully ripened and bright red.

9) Colombian coffee beans are sorted by size, density and colour to determine quality.

10) Export quality Colombian coffee is very nice and will keep you awake at night after 4 cups!

Next time you are in the tea & coffee isle in the supermarket, try some finest Colombian coffee.


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