Colombia

Colombia is the golden child of the coffee world. Other origins come and go, popularity ebbs and flows, but Colombia remains: confidently, consistently striding ahead. If you had to just pick one origin, to showcase a range of profiles, to supply you all year round, and to please all your customers, wouldn’t it be Colombia?

History of Coffee in Colombia

There are many stories but with little certainty as to where the first coffee seeds, that arrived to Colombia, came from. What is certain, however, is that coffee has become more than just a crop for Colombia, but the way of living for the more than 500,000 families growing it. Coffee is an identity and a reason to be proud for more than 44 million Colombians.

The very first coffee that was exported from Colombia in 1835, headed to the United States. After this first export and the opening of the Panama Canal, new opportunities for selling coffee were made easier and the Colombian coffee culture started to grow.

Many small-holders settled in and around the Colombian Andes to start growing coffee in search for a better life, with better opportunities.

 

Today, Colombia is the third largest coffee producing country after Brazil and Vietnam. It produces more than 11 million bags annually, with the vast majority of producers being small-scale farmers. Colombia is one of the most unique coffee growing areas of the world. It has a reputation for producing rich, full-bodied, and perfectly balanced coffees.

The Arabica variety is also the only variety grown and the rich volcanic soils create great conditions for growing high quality coffees. Most of the coffee growing regions in Colombia have two harvest cycles per year, meaning that coffee is produced almost year-round, making it readily available nearly all the time.

History of Coffee in Colombia

There are lots of stories and still no certainty of where did the first coffee seeds that arrived in Colombia came from, what it is for sure, is that coffee has become more than a single crop in this country. It has become the way of living of more than 500,000 families who grow the product. Coffee is an identity and proud of more than 44 million Colombians. The very first coffee that was shipped out from Colombia headed to the United States in 1835. After this first export and the opening of the Panama Canal and other new opportunities that made exports easier, the coffee culture started growing in Colombia. Many small-holders settled among the Colombian Andes to start growing the product in search for a new crop and better opportunities.

Today, Colombia is the third largest coffee producing country after Brazil and Vietnam, producing more than 11 million bags annualy and the vast majority of producers are small-scale farmers. Colombia is one of the most particular and unique coffee growing contries. Besides its great reputation for being known as one of the best coffees in the world for its rich, full-bodied, and perfectly balanced taste, they only grow Arabica on rich volcanic soils, creating great conditions for growing high quality coffees. Most of the coffee growing regions in Colombia have two harvest cycles per year, meaning that they produce coffee almost year round. This means that we can also enjoy this amazing coffee year round.

General Info

Number of Producers

Average Farm Size

Hectares

Altitude

Number of exports

thousand bags

Harvest

March – August

October – February

Shipping Months

Year Round

Buying areas

Huila

Bourbon, Castillo, Caturra, Colombia,
Geisha, Tabi, Typica

Harvest: April - August
October - January

Farm Size: 3 Hectares

Shipments:
June - March

Atitude: 1,400-2,000 masl

Tolima


Bourbon, Caturra, Castillo,
Colombia, Tabi, Typica

Harvest: March - August
October - February

Farm Size: 4 Hectares

Shipments:
May - April

Altitude: 1,400-2,100 masl

Nariño

Caturra, Castillo
Colombia, Typica

Harvest:
May - July

Farm Size: 4 Hectares

Shipments:
July - November

Atitude: 1,500 - 2,100masl

Cauca

Castillo, Caturra, Colombia

Harvest:
April - August

Farm Size: 4 Hectares

Shipments:
June - December

Atitude: 1,600 - 1,900 masl

Harvest Calendar

Huila

Huila

  • Varieties:  Castillo, Colombia, Caturra, Tabi, Typica, Bourbon, Geisha.
  • Average farm size: 1,5 – 5 Hectares.
  • Altitude: 1,400 – 2,000 masl.
  • Harvest Time: April – August and October – January.
  • Shipment-months: June – March
  • Cupping notes:
  • Brands: La Falda, Matambo, Los Monjes, Cacica, Andino Especial, Peñas Blancas, La Magdalena, Timanco, Quebradon, Los Naranjos, La Virgen, La Serrania, San Sebastian, La Estrella del Ostro, Paraiso, Los Idolos.
Tolima

 Tolima

  • Varieties: Caturra, Typica, Bourbon, Colombia, Castillo, Tabi.
  • Average farm size: 3-5 Hectares.
  • Altitude: 1,400 – 2,100 masl.
    • Harvest Time: March – August and October – February.
  • Shipping Months: May – April.
  • Cupping notes:
  • Brands: El Jordan, San Fermin, Los Vascos, Meridiano, Las Brisas.
Cauca

Cauca

  • Varieties:  Caturra, Colombia, Castillo.
  • Average farm size: 2-5 Hectares.
  • Altitude: 1,600 – 1,900 masl.
  • Harvest Time: April – August.
  • Shipping Months: June – December.
  • Cupping notes: Panela, yellow fruits, sweet vegetables, medium acidity and nutty aftertaste.
  • Brands: La Piramide, Orgánico.
Nariño

Nariño

  • Varieties: Caturra, Colombia, Castillo, Typica.
  • Average farm size: 2-5  Hectares.
  • Altitude: 1,500 – 2,100 masl.
  • Harvest Time: May – July.
  • Shipping-months: July – November.
  • Brands: El Aguacate, Los Rosales, El Cascabel.
  • Cupping notes: With delicious acidic notes of mangosteen, orange peel, red apple, combined with vanilla and caramel flavor, we evidence aromatic notes and a silky body within the cup.
    
    

Iniciatives

95% of the world’s coffee producers are small-holders who receive little technical assistance and produce coffee based on inherited or local practices. Around our PECA program, we have created new methods to educate producers and obtain results as quickly as possible. In Colombia, our biggest origin, we usually test and try these new initiatives to then replicate them in other countries where we are present. These are the programs that started in Colombia and we are working on expanding them to all our eight origins.

ECAS

This program has been implemented in the 32 municipalities where we source coffee from in Colombia. Once a month, in each municipality, PECA educators organize an afternoon with producers in the region, in which they carry out didactic and entertaining activities – with a pedagogical objective. These exercises are always related with the coffee harvest and post-harvest processes, which helps them learn in a fun way. Producers also get to share with other producers from the region, where they can share experiences and best practices with their colleagues and fellow community members.

Virtual Classrooms

At Caravela, we are very concerned with the aging of coffee farmers and the lack of generational change and we strongly believe that technology is one of the best ways to solve this issue and adding value to the coffee industryIn an effort to start changing this trend, last year we opened two ‘virtual classrooms’ in La Plata, Huila, with the support of Taylor’s of Harrogate, one of our longtime roaster partners. In these classrooms, coffee farmers and their children have access to 10 Chromebook laptops where they can take online courses on diverse subjects including agronomy, harvesting, post-harvest processing and sustainability. 


Our Team on the Ground

Our employees are our most important asset because without their dedication and passion for coffee, we would not be able to operate our business. We appreciate the job of those workers who add valuable contribution to the company, who don't only help to satisfy the necessities of more than 250 roaster around the world, but they align to our five values; transparency, traceability, direct relationships, cup quality, and sustainability. These people have been capable of delivering some of the best Latin American coffee to the world, whilst generating impact at origin and growing sustainably without losing their focus. Congratulations to our valuable and outstanding Caravela team!



Lorena Falla


Lorena is a PECA educator in Colombia. She is in charge of not only providing extension services to farmers in Gigante and Garzón, but her main role is to visit these quality-minded producers and their families and continiously offer them education on best practices to increase productivity and improve quality. She has been great at strengthening relationships with coffee growers and she has become a member of all these families. Lorena's prized posession is her family and she loves to spend time with her little daughter and her husband.



Duver Rojas


Duver is our QC analyst, in charge of buying high-end coffee in the regions of Bruselas and Guadalupe. He focuses on offering coffee growers immediate feedback for all the lots delivered, but Duver has also been keen to teach coffee growers how to cup and fully understand how the processes done at their farms are reflected on our cupping labs. While he's not working, Duver enjoys playing mini soccer and reading books about history and geographics.


Alexis Villamil


Alexis is our Quality Assurance Coordinator based in our dry mill in Armenia. She has been working with Caravela for 12 years now and she comes from a coffee growing family. Alexis is a great cupper and he is responsible of making sure that every single bag of coffee that we ship out of Colombia follows our strict quality standards. Outside of work, Alexis loves to read books with his little boy, who loves to read.

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