Picking Coffee In Colombia
“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?” Cassandra Clare
Coffee is my most important meal of the day. In my life, morning is not possible without coffee. I am in the coffee triangle of Colombia – the Utopia for coffee drinkers. The coffee triangle is the region of Colombia where most of the coffee crops grow.
The Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia was recently declared UNESCO World Heritage Landscape for its “centennial tradition of coffee growing”.
The exquisite landscape is characterized by rivers, steep hills with coffee plantations and coffee farms. The major cities are Armenia, Perreira and Manizales. I flew into Perreira.
My coffee lesson begins at the beautiful Hacienda Venecia. (http://www.haciendavenecia.com)
Lunch is served.
It is my new favorite Ajiaco soup and that is their specialty. It is a chicken soup made with three kind of potatoes and Colombian herbs. It is served with avocado and cream. (the chefs)
Coffee beans begin as red berries.
The coffee beans are the seeds.
We head down across a river bed to pick coffee beans.
They are always hand picked off the vine and don’t pick the green ones.
We start along a path but gradually we are walking through thick bushes smacking us all over.
I’m sure I must be getting malaria. The lives of the coffee pickers are hard and the work is tedious and difficult. ( I just walked out of that)
We learn how the beans are processed and about all the machinery, certification and care involved in transforming the berry into coffee beans.
, The fresh beans are examined. I was slow at finding the good ones.
These are good ones. Not broken and no scars.
Then we roasted my beans in a special toaster. (my coffee beans)
We smelled different coffee bean aromas from tester bottles.
The premium beans are dried and sent to Europe and North America. They are sold to a distributor who is responsible for roasting and export.
The low-grade beans stay in Colombia and are brewed into a sugary watery coffee called tinto sold all over Colombia. The Colombian coffee “revolutionaries” are trying to change that by introducing their quality bean coffee in Colombia. Juan Valdez cafes and chic coffee houses are popping up everywhere like Starbucks. But it is hard to get people to change what they have been drinking all their lives.
We have a last cup of coffee at the coffee farm. It is starting to rain. I think about all that work that went into producing this one cup of coffee . I think about picking those beans every time I have a cup of coffee now. Coffee will always reminds me of Colombia.
Viaje Con Cuidado,