Because Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is so very highly heralded, many people wonder if coffee from other places such as Colombia can be any good at all. Happily, since Blue Mountain coffee is in low supply, the answer that question is a resounding "Yes!"
Types & Brands
Colombian Medellin Excelso
Columbia produces a number of very fine coffees. Because Colombian coffee has been considered a mainstay worldwide since the late 1950s, when their coffee industry introduced "coffee farmer" Juan Valdez, many people think of Colombian coffee as being plain and ordinary.
This is really not the case, though. Colombia produces most of the coffee that is enjoyed worldwide. As gourmet coffee has gained popularity around the world, the coffee industry in Colombia has made adjustments to meet increased demand.
The key to finding the best coffees from Columbia is to look for those labeled "Private Mill Colombia". Private Mills source coffees from co-ops and single farms that are located in very specific growing regions that are similar to those found in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica and the Kona region of Hawaii.
Explore Beyond Arabica
Private Mill coffees offer both quality and variety. When you find a good supplier of Private Mill coffees, you can have your choice of traditional Arabica coffees or specialties such as heirloom varieties (e.g. typica or bourbon) or hybrid cultivars such as Colombiana.
Certified Private Mill coffees differ from standard Colombian coffees because grading criteria is far more extensive. Colombian coffees that are produced en masse are only differentiated by grade which is determined as follows:
- Supremo – top grade
- Extra – second tier
- Excelso – a combination of 1 and 2
Private Mill coffees are differentiated by grade and by location of origin. These locations are chosen for their especial suitability in terms of elevation, climate and soil fertility.
Starbucks Jumps On The Colombian Gourmet Coffee Bandwagon
In recognition of the finer coffees now being produced in Colombia, Starbucks has not only added some excellent choices to their standard lineup, they have also opened locations in Colombia.
Until very recently, coffee available in Colombia was actually quite dreadful and of inferior quality because the vast majority of good beans were exported.
Today both Starbucks and Juan Valdez Cafes, which are operated by the Colombian coffee industry, strive to educate locals about the joys of delicious, specialty coffees.
For coffee drinkers seeking an authentic Colombian gourmet coffee experience, Juan Valdez Cafes can be found located in several prestigious settings around the world. For example, there is one in Times Square in New York City.
Top Picks In Colombian Coffee
If you prefer to enjoy your gourmet coffee in the comfort of your own home, there are a number of fine choices available online. Here are a few to get you started:
Colombian Supremo Peaberry
This medium roast, organic, fair trade certified coffee boasts a deep and intense flavor. It is made up of the very rarest of the coffee bean harvest.
Peaberry are coffee beans that present as a single, large rounded seed instead of a pair of flattened seeds. These beans make up only 5% of any given coffee harvest. Check out Colombian Peaberry Coffee offered by Volcanica.
This coffee hails from the Colombian Supremo Andeano Estate located at a very high level of elevation in the Colombian Andes. It boasts a smooth and pleasant level of acidity. It is a full-bodied coffee with nutty overtones and a smooth finish.
This shade grown, organic coffee is both fair trade certified and rain forest alliance certified. This ecologically sound Colombian Supremo Coffee is offered by Volcanica as well.
Colombian Medellin Excelso
This is another affordable choice in Colombian coffee. It offers a bright flavor with hints of nuts and cocoa and a fruity finish. This organic, fair trade coffee is available from Out Of The Grey Coffee.
The best Colombian coffees available today are flavorful, ecologically and socially responsible and fairly easy on the pocketbook.
If you have been seeking an alternative to high priced Blue Mountain and Kona coffees, you are sure to be pleased with the variety, flavor and relative thrift to be found when exploring delicious Colombian coffees.