Colombia is the world’s third-largest coffee bean producer and offers excellent coffee plant growing conditions. What are they and where can you get them?
Colombian coffee beans are known as some of the best globally due to their high quality and taste. Most Colombian coffee beans are Arabica beans, widely considered superior to the more cost-effective robusta beans. Subcategories of Colombian beans are bourbon, maragogype, typica, and caturra.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about Colombian coffee beans, including how they compare with other varieties and where you can find them. So let’s get started.
Where Are Colombian Coffee Beans Grown?
Colombian coffee beans are grown and harvested in Colombia. With its high altitude, high rainfall, and tropical location, Colombia offers optimal coffee bean growing conditions, resulting in highly aromatic and excellent quality beans. Colombian coffee is mild, fruity, and smooth.
Now that we know the basics of Colombian coffee beans let’s discover them in more detail.
Columbian Coffee Beans Origin
Colombian coffee beans originate from mountainside coffee bean farms called “fincas”. Coffee beans are grown throughout Colombia, but the central growing regions are the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta highlands and the Andes Mountain slopes.
The Colombian coffee-growing axis is in Medellin and the country’s central part. Smaller coffee-growing areas are located in the east and south.
Colombian coffee beans are typically grown at altitudes of between 1200 and 2000 m (4000 and 5600 ft) above sea level and are harvested between September and December. Since Colombia is equatorial, coffee bean plantations can perform mini harvests at regular intervals, allowing consumers to enjoy year-round Colombian coffee availability.
The Best Quality Coffee
Colombian coffee is considered the best quality coffee in the world, and this is mainly due to the growing conditions and because the beans are mostly arabica beans.
Coffee plants thrive in climates with at least 80” (200 cm) of annual rainfall and warm temperatures all year-round. Colombia offers a high altitude, heavy rainfall, shady growing conditions, and a tropical climate, making it ideal for growing coffee.
In addition, most Colombian coffee beans are handpicked to ensure optimal quality.
Flavor Profile, Aroma, and Taste
The flavor and taste profile of Colombian coffee beans depends primarily on the region in which they were grown.
Beans grown in the central region have an intense fruit and herbal aroma, while southern beans are more acidic, milder, and have a predominantly citrus taste. Northern region Colombian coffee is less acidic with more body, boldness, and a nutty, chocolatey taste.
Generally speaking, and regardless of where in Colombia the beans are grown, you can expect the coffee to have a lightly floral and citrus fruit aroma with hints of herbs.
Tastewise, Colombian coffee beans have a slightly nutty and fruity taste with hints of apple and red berry hints. Colombian coffee is mild-tasting with caramel-based sweetness and cocoa notes.
This makes it an excellent choice for all-day coffee drinking or making coffee for a crowd as it lacks the bitterness of robusta beans.
Before roasting, Colombian coffee beans are wet-processed, and the pulp and the cherry are separated by washing them in water. This method helps preserve the bean’s quality and enhance its natural fruity sweetness and acidity.
Columbian Beans Are Acidic
As Arabica beans, Colombian coffee beans are typically acidic, giving them a bright and mild taste for a smooth coffee-drinking experience. The high acidity is due to the citric and chlorogenic acid content.
Citric acid gives delicious and complex citrus and stone fruit taste notes in Colombian coffee beans. It also contains low levels of chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant that helps the body fight the free radicals that cause damage to cells.
The longer coffee beans are roasted, the less acidic they become. Colombian coffee beans have a pH level of 5.27 and 6.11, depending on the roast level.
The Roast Is Typical Of All Coffee Beans
Colombian coffee beans can be light, medium, or dark roasted like all coffee bean varieties. Lightly roasted Colombian coffee beans allow you to appreciate the bright and citrusy flavors.
The darker the roast, the less acidic it becomes, yielding more bitterness that camouflages the sweet fruit notes. Dark roasted Colombian coffee beans make excellent espressos due to their bolder taste profile.
Lower Caffeine Content
Most Colombian coffee beans are Arabica beans, which have a lower caffeine content than robusta beans. Arabica beans have a caffeine content of approximately 1.5%, while robusta beans contain around 2.7%.
The caffeine content of Colombian coffee also depends on the roast level. Like all coffee, the lighter the roast, the higher the caffeine content. When making coffee, you need to weigh your coffee grounds. Since lightly roasted beans weigh less than medium or dark roast ones, you need more beans, increasing the caffeine content.
If you’re sensitive to caffeine, it’s advisable to opt for medium or dark-roasted Colombian coffee beans.
Price and Availability
Colombian coffee beans are typically expensive as they are mostly arabica coffee beans, which are delicate plants requiring special attention and specific growing conditions. Most Colombian beans are also hand-picked, and the labor price needs to be factored into the final product price.
As the third-largest coffee-producing country globally, Colombia’s coffee beans are widely available, and you can buy them at most grocery stores, coffee shops, and online.
Colombian Coffee Blends
Although single-origin Colombian coffee beans are a delicious option for making any coffee beverage, coffee producers sometimes blend them with beans from other countries to create coffee grounds with a unique taste.
When blended with robusta coffee bean grounds, the acidity level is decreased, and more bitterness is introduced.
Ethiopian coffee beans have ginger and cloves notes that pair well with the citrus flavors in Colombian coffee. Kenyan and Colombian blends have a well-balanced taste profile combining light floral and citrus notes with earthy and tart blackcurrant flavors.
Types of Colombian Coffee Beans
There are four main kinds of Colombian coffee beans:
- Bourbon: Bourbon coffee plants grow fewer cherries than other coffee plants, making them rarer to find. These beans have a light, sweet fruity taste with hints of buttery cocoa.
- Maragogype: Maragogype coffee bean plants have large leaves resembling elephant ears, which is the reason they’re also called “elephant coffee beans”. The beans are porous, and their taste is greatly affected by the soil in which they’re grown. This variety yields a delicately sweet and warm toasty flavor with cocoa and cinnamon notes.
- Typica: With its uniquely-shaped and elongated cherries and tall, thin branches, the typica coffee bean plant produces beans that give you fresh-tasting coffee that’s full of complex, fruity flavors.
- Caturra: Caturra coffee beans are a mutation of the popular bourbon variety. The coffee tastes crisp, and sweet with a complex fruity flavor profile when brewed.
How Colombian Coffee Beans Compare With Other Varieties
Now that I’ve discussed Colombian coffee beans in detail let’s consider how they compare with other coffee varieties. Below I’ll compare Colombian coffee beans with beans from the other main coffee-producing countries:
|Taste||Acidity||Bean Type||Processing Method|
|Colombia||Smooth-tasting, sweet, mild with citrus flavor notes.||High||Arabica||Wet|
|Ethiopia||Lightly floral with berry, cloves, and ginger notes.||High||Arabica||Dry|
|Brazil||Nutty, cocoa with a lingering aftertaste.||Low||Arabica||Wet|
|Indonesia||Earthy, smoky, and bitter cocoa notes.||Low||Robusta||Wet|
|Kenya||Bold, and tart, with black
Colombian coffee beans produce excellent quality coffee with a mild, fruity, and light taste. Ethiopian, Brazilian, or Kenyan beans offer a similar mellow taste profile as they consist primarily of arabica beans.
Like Colombian coffee beans, Brazilian coffee beans are also wet-processed, which allows the light and complex flavor to develop fully. Brazilian beans, however, have less acidity than Colombian beans and do not have the same smooth taste.
Indonesian coffee beans, in contrast, have a bold and bitter taste but less acidity, making them a more suitable option if you have stomach sensitivity.
Best Ways To Make Coffee Using Colombian Coffee Beans
You can prepare coffee using Colombian coffee beans with any coffee-making method. However, some coffee preparation methods enhance the delicious taste profile, especially when you grind the beans in a certain way.
To maximize the unique taste of Colombian coffee beans, consider using them to make the following drinks:
- Iced coffee: Medium roasted Colombian beans are perfect for making iced coffee. The naturally sweet taste of the coffee eliminates the need for too much sugar, while the medium roasted beans add plenty of bold flavor without tasting bitter.
- Black coffee: The sweet, clean, mild, non-bitter, and citrusy taste of lightly-roasted Colombian coffee beans makes a delicious cup of black coffee. It allows you to appreciate the taste complexity without adding cream or sugar.
- Cappuccino: With their light and bright flavor profile, Colombian coffee beans make tasty cappuccinos as they add rich flavor that is well-balanced with the milk content.
- Mocha: Using Colombian coffee beans to make a mocha is a fantastic idea as they help enhance the hot chocolate’s cocoa notes and add sweetness.
Below are some popular methods of preparing coffee using Colombian coffee beans.
The Aeropress method allows you to capture Colombian coffee beans’ complex citrus and floral flavor notes.
Medium-ground beans work best with this method as they allow you to perfect the most suitable extraction and infusion time perfectly. This method works best when making Americano coffee or regular coffee with cream and sugar.
The Chemex method is one of Colombia’s most popular pour-over coffee-making methods. If you enjoy the rich, caramel-like sweetness in your coffee, this is an excellent way to make Colombian coffee, especially if you grind the coffee beans coarsely.
The thick filter paper used for this method removes much of the coffee’s natural oils, allowing the rich sweetness to develop. Depending on how sweet you like your coffee, you may not have to add sugar. If you don’t like your coffee so sweet, consider grinding the beans finely.
The Chemex method makes tasty cappuccinos that are bold-tasting without excessive bitterness.
As an immersion coffee-making method, the French press allows you to decide how long to brew your Colombian coffee grounds. Most people brew coffee in a French press for three to five minutes as this allows the grounds plenty of time to develop full-bodied flavor.
If you use finely-ground Colombian coffee beans in a French press, your coffee will have a rich, honey-like sweetness and the usual citrus flavor tones. This strength of Colombian coffee is ideal for cappuccinos or flavored coffees as the flavor will not be overwhelmed by milk, sugar, or hot chocolate.
For light-tasting and mellow coffee, consider using coarsely ground coffee grounds, which help prevent over-extraction, and allow them to draw for only two to three minutes. If you usually enjoy black coffee, this method is ideal.
Moka pots are famous for making concentrated coffee with a syrupy consistency in a short time. Moka coffee tastes similar to espresso, and medium to dark-roasted beans work best with this method.
By ensuring that your beans are ground evenly and packing them tightly into your Moka pot, you increase the chances of brewing evenly extracted coffee that is sweet but not overly bitter.
Stovetop Espresso Maker
Dark-roasted Colombian coffee beans make tasty espressos that have a full-bodied taste but without the bitter aftertaste that is characteristic of robusta beans. The traditional way of making Colombian espressos is by using a stovetop espresso maker.
With medium-ground Colombian espresso beans, the pressure created in your stovetop espresso maker will help the coffee to produce its lesser-known and mild bitter notes. The resulting espresso tastes well-balanced but with no sour aftertaste, like other espresso bean varieties.
You can make delicious coffee with a smooth-tasting, mild, and fruity flavor profile using Colombian coffee beans. They make excellent mochas, cappuccinos, iced and black coffee.
Most Colombian coffee beans are Arabica beans, widely recognized as the best quality and most pleasant-tasting coffee. Subcategories of Colombian coffee beans include bourbon, maragogype, typica, and caturra.
Colombian coffee beans, however, have high acid levels, which may be problematic if you have stomach problems. You can make coffee using Colombian beans with any method, but the Aeropress, Chemex, French press, Moka pot, and stovetop espresso maker methods work best.