Travel South America

The Five Best Coffee Experiences in Colombia

November 20, 2017
Examining coffee plants at El Carriel, Quimbaya

Thanks to the work of its legendary National Coffee Federation, Colombia and coffee are almost synonymous. Basically, for those who don’t know the backstory, they single-handedly created the idea of a Colombian brand back in the 1920s. Today, with the worst excesses of civil strife now in the past, the country is opening up as a tourist destination. More to the point, it’s one of the best places in the world for coffee drinkers who want to deepen their understanding of their favourite morning beverage. Regardless of whether you simply want to know more about your favourite brew or you’re already an aficionado, read on to discover the places, people, and experiences that you shouldn’t miss on your trip.


5. Hike Don Pedro’s Coffee Finca in Salamina, Caldas 

Don Pedro combines energy with the business know-how he learned during the decades he spent in the US. Now back in his native land, he has learned the secrets of the coffee trade, and his Finca is unforgettable. Hike amidst the coffee plants and a wide variety of fruit trees including lemon, mandarin orange, banana, plantain, and avocado. Don Pedro takes visitors through every step in coffee cultivation from the tree to the cup. However, you don’t have to be a coffee enthusiast to enjoy the spectacular setting of his farm. Looking across the valley, the heritage town of Salamina lies perched on top of a nearby mountain. In a word, it’s spectacular.

Click here to learn more about Salamina and Don Pedro

Who should do this? This experience will appeal to those who want a rural experience in a natural setting. Hikers and adventure lovers, look no further. Coffee lovers- this is heaven on a hillside with a great cup of coffee to wash it down. 

Practicalities:  Salamina is accessible by bus or by shared taxi from Manizales. The trip takes two to three hours. It’s possible to find Don Pedro in Fruty Caffé in the main square. 

 

Coffee grower demonstrates dehusking

Share Don Pedro’s zest for life in Salamina

View across to Salamina, Caldas

Salamina from Don Pedro’s Finca


4. Coffee Experiences at Café Arte y Pasión, Bogotá

As the capital city, it’s hardly surprising that Bogotá possesses plenty of hot coffee spots. Hidden in a small pedestrian alley, Café Arte y Pasión is just one of those places. Customers can choose from a menu of ‘Coffee Experiences’. However, the ‘Coffee Origins Experience’ is possibly the most interesting for new arrivals. Choose from a range of coffees and the knowledgeable staff will take you on tasting tour of the country’s coffee producing regions. Other interesting alternatives include a ‘Deconstruction of an Irish Coffee’ and a ‘History of Coffee’ tasting experience. 

Follow the link to Café Arte y Pasión website (only in Spanish)

Who should do this? This experience is for anyone who enjoys a cup of coffee. It’s possible to do the ‘experiences’ in English, but it may be necessary to arrange this in advance. 

Practicalities:  The full address is Cl. 16 #776, Bogotá, Colombia. The café is in the inner courtyard of a building down a small alley in La Candelaria. 

Coffee cupping and chocolate brioche, Café Arte y Pasion, Bogota

An introduction to the tastes of Colombia

Coffee Origins experience at Café Arte Y Pasion, Bogota

The ‘Coffee Origins’ Experience


3. A Farm Labourer’s Tour at Finca El Carriel, Quimbaya

This is a rustic rural experience in a genuine family Finca. Hernando, the farm labourer, guides visitors through the coffee farm where he tends to a variety of Arabica coffee plants. Andrés, the eldest son in the family, is always on-hand to provide English translations to tourists who don’t speak Spanish. Join them in choosing ripe berries to collect and learn about the ups-and-downs of life on a coffee farm. Discover how pests and diseases like the dreaded ‘roya’ can literally destroy an entire plantation. Honestly, this is a genuine insight into life on a real farm. Also, they now offer accommodation. So, those who want to experience life in an off-the-beaten-path location have found their perfect escape. 

Rooms at Finca El Carriel can be booked on Booking.com

Who should do this? Anyone who wants a genuine rural/ coffee experience will love this place. Travellers who want to escape from the rat-race will be in paradise right here. 

Practicalities:  The bus from Filandia to Quimbaya will stop here on request. Make sure to tell the driver to drop you off at Finca El Carriel.

Examining coffee plants at El Carriel, Quimbaya

Picking coffee in El Carriel, Quimbaya


2. Turn into a Coffee Connoisseur at Finca El Ocaso, Salento 

Salento may have its detractors. It can be touristy. Sometimes, it may even feel like a coffee Disneyland. Nevertheless, the premium tour at Finca El Ocaso will soon make you forget town’s shortcomings.  With all the typical features of a coffee tour (from picking the beans to witnessing every step in the production process), it also teaches visitors how to identify the flavours and aromas of top quality coffees. Truly, it’s the Rolls Royce of coffee tours in Colombia. After a morning or an afternoon on this tour, your morning cup of Joe will never smell or taste the same again.

Click on the link to learn more about Salento

Who should do this? Anyone who loves coffee and wants to learn more about the drink. 

Practicalities:  There are regular buses from Armenia to Salento, as well as less frequent buses from Pereira. Finca El Ocaso is a few kilometres beyond the yellow bridge. On foot, it takes about 45 minutes.  

Coffee cupping at Finca El Ocaso, Salento

Coffee tasting session at Finca El Ocaso, Salento


1. Become a Barista for a Day at Toucan Café, Medellín

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work as a barista? Learn the principles of coffee extraction. Find out how to pull a mean espresso. Troubleshoot problems as they happen. Discover some of the popular filter methods used in Third Wave cafés around the world.  Experiment with basic latte art. Serve coffee in a working café. Expert barista Andrés offers this and much more at Toucan Café in El Poblado, Medellín. Even if it’s only to improve the quality of your home-brew, this is an experience that will live with you long after you leave Colombia. 

Follow this link to find out more on the Toucan Café website

Who should do this? Those who love coffee and want to have a real café experience. 

Practicalities:  Toucan Café is on the main drag in El Poblado. The full address is Calle 10 #41-32, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia. It’s a steep walk up from Poblado metro station for those arriving from other areas of the city. 

Barista tour at Toucan Café, Toucan Tours, Medellin

Busy barista at Toucan Café


 

Have you any other tips for the Colombian Coffee Triangle? Share your experiences here! Leave a comment below or send your story to me by email at Unlatinoverde@gmail.com

Next Post: Monday, December 11th, 2017

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4 Comments

  • Reply Alex Schnee November 22, 2017 at 12:30

    This is so good to know! I’m always on the hunt for new coffee places and since I’m headed to Colombia next year, I’ll keep these in mind. Thanks for the awesome info!

    • Reply Unlatinoverde November 22, 2017 at 15:31

      Hi Alex,
      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. The truth is that there’s just so much to see and do in Colombia that it’s one of those countries you could spend a lifetime exploring. Apart from the coffee, there are the picturesque towns, the varied landscapes, and contrasting cities. I expect to have my Colombia page ready in the next ten days, so keep an eye on Unlatinoverde.com!

  • Reply thebonfiredream December 14, 2017 at 06:57

    My favorite coffee is from Peru, but I also enjoy the Colombian one. I was surprised to see that the coffee there is done slightly different than here in Europe 🙂

    • Reply Unlatinoverde December 14, 2017 at 08:01

      I also enjoyed the coffee in Peru. I have written a few coffee flavoured posts about the country- Lazy Living on a Peruvian Coffee Farm and Grey Day Lima. The latter was an independent coffee tour of the capital. Anyway, Central America is earmarked for 2018, so there should be plenty more coffee on Unlatinoverde.

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