When coffee traders from Colombia took a shot at exporting coffee back in 1835, they only shipped 2,500 bags of Colombian coffee beans to the US. It was a risky venture during that time when tea was the preferred beverage.
The gamble paid off, though. Colombian coffee proved to be a hit. By 1875, 170,000 sacks of coffee beans from Colombia were exported across the globe. And the world never stopped loving Colombia’s coffee. At an average of 10 million bags per year, Colombian coffee is one of the top selling products in the world.
Folk tradition holds that the Jesuit priests who came in 1730 were responsible for propagating the first crops of Colombian coffee. Another tale says that coffee was introduced by a traveler who went all the way to Guyana to procure the grand-daddy of all Colombian coffee trees. No one knows exactly how the first coffee seeds were came to Colombia, but one thing is for sure: the person who did it deserves a statue.
There are several coffee varieties that are being cultivated in the world today, but Colombians prefer to grow only one type: Coffea Arabica L. Blessed with a high-altitude and mountainous geography, Colombia provides a perfect breeding ground for C. Arabica L. There are other high-altitude areas in the world, but why does C. Arabica L. grown in Colombia stands out? It is mostly due to both the rich volcanic soil and relatively arid climate in the mountains where coffee trees are commonly is cultivated.
However, the main difference that accounts for the high-quality of Colombian coffee beans is human in nature. Great climate and rich soil can make a coffee tree grow well. Yet more is needed in order to produce great tasting coffee. That is when human factor comes into the play.
Coffee growers in Colombia have known the craft for centuries. They know how much painstaking care and attention delicate coffee trees require. Unlike in other parts of the globe where coffee trees are often cultivated en masse as one crop, Colombian farmers grow their coffee in the shade of rubber or banana trees and treat the trees with utmost love as if coffee trees are their sons and daughters.
But that is not all the reason why Colombian coffee tastes amazing. One last secret is the way the beans are prepared. After harvest time, Colombian farmers focus their attention on properly drying the beans. This is a very delicate process and determines success or failure of the whole harvest season. Dry the beans too much and you get rejected by top-notch exporters. But if the beans are dried the properly, then it would probably be approved for export.
The reason for the rigorous bean selection process is that only perfectly dried beans, those that contain the right amount of recommended moisture, would produce the rich and perfectly balanced taste that Colombian coffee is known for.
So every time you savor your good old cup of coffee made from 100% Colombian coffee beans, remember that there are two factors that make the taste wonderful: Nature and man.