Way before it was known for the notorious kingpin Pablo Escobar and his Medellin Cartel, Colombia was already famous for producing “the richest coffee in the world”.
Coffee was first brought to Colombia in the 1700s by Spanish Jesuit priests and commercial export started in the first decade of the 1800s.
The Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia
However, it was after the establishment of the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia (FNC) in 1927 that quickly boosts Colombia among the top coffee producing countries in the world.
Through its organization and successful “100% Colombia” campaign, Colombia was able to establish itself as a single origin coffee in a world market dominated by commercial coffee blends.
Coffee Production in Colombia
The FNC has created an extensive system wherein thousands of small farmers process their coffee and deliver it to mills operated by FNC.
A Colombian Coffee Sack
At these mills, the coffees are sorted according to the size of their beans.
This system has greatly increased productivity and quality control of Colombian coffee but inevitably resulted in the averaging effect where an exceptional coffee from a farm would be mixed with a mediocre coffee from another farm.
Riding on the wave of growing interest in specialty coffee, there is a revival of regionally specific Colombian coffee processed by private mills or FNC. These coffees usually come with more character than standard lots of Colombia.
A coffee estate in Colombia
Standard Colombian coffees exported by the FNC are distinguished by grades and the region is usually not specified.
The character tends to be the classic taste of a coffee with balanced flavor and medium body. Acidity is usually present but not overbearing with underlying hint of fruit notes.
With a large coffee-growing areas and variable microclimates due to altitude, wind patterns, varietals and processing techniques, the profiles of these coffees may vary considerably.