This month we focus on one of the biggest coffee producing countries in the world.
Current Climpson’s Coffees:
Seasonal Espresso, 50% Huila, Colombia
Single Origin for filter: Huila, Colombia
Single Origins on the horizon, sourced directly in Colombia by Nile Robbins: Buenavista from El Tambo, La Belarmina Sotara and El Recuerdo from Piendamo Microlots
Coffee was first commercially cultivated in Colombia in the mid-1830s and today has around 875,000 hectares of coffee plantations; the diverse, mountainous topography creates ideal growing conditions with numerous tropical micro-climates, enabling the 500,000 or so small and large farm owners, some as small as 1-2 hectares, to create some interesting and hugely varied ranges of coffee flavour. There is a developing grading system growing in Colombia, however exporters and roaster, who have taken to trading directly with the smaller micro-lot farmers, consistently seek Excelso and Supremo grade Colombian coffee.
Colombia has two harvests a year, growing coffee all year around depending on the region. Due to the changing seasonality of these areas harvest time differs year-to-year. Cherries are usually harvested between October and December in the North and West, and April to June in the South East.
For many years Colombia was the number one world producer of washed coffees and the second largest producer to Brazil. In 2000 they were surpassed by Vietnam and then the Roya infestation of 2008 set them back significantly (source: Café Imports). The 2014 International Coffee Organisation (ICO) figures show that Colombia produced 12.1 million (60kg) bags of green coffee. This is a 13% increase compared to 2013, showing the increase in high quality coffee in the international market and the rise in production is the result of initiatives set by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation to increase productivity, crop renovation and coffee grower income.
Fun Fact: Interestingly, Colombian farmers and citizens alike drink a lot of coffee every day; nearly 20% of their annual production.
Highlights of 2014 (source Colombian Coffee Growers Federation)
The Colombian coffee industry’s main performance indicators reflected positive results in 2014.
- Nearly 3, 2 billion trees and 600,000 renovated hectares.
- Average national productivity reached 15.26 60 kilo coffee bags per hectare.
- The total high density coffee area reached 913,000 hectares, reflecting a 21% increase.
- 420,000 coffee growing families grow more than 50% of their plantations with rust-resistant varieties.
- The presence of coffee leaf rust was reduced by 85%.It is currently below 4.1%.
- 105new automated weather stations were connected, which provide an early warning system for coffee berry borer and coffee leaf rust.
- 69,000 hectares are part of the forest conservation program.
(Nile at the Cauca Cupping Championships in Colombia)