Colombia is a country which has created a unique relationship with coffee, not to be found anywhere else in the world, and this is one of the reasons it produces the amazing coffee beans coveted all over the world, and considered the benchmark for all other coffees in the world.
Coffee, probably, arrived into the Colombian territory around 1730, via the Orinoco river in the eastern frontier of the country with Venezuela, and very soon it began migrating west towards more suitable areas for it´s growth, like Santander, Cundinamarca and finally into the area later to be known as the Coffee Axis, in the massive mountains of Manizales, Medellin, Armenia and Pereira.
Colombia´s Coffee Axle lays a few degrees north of the Equator, just north from where the Andes Mountains splits in three “Cordilleras” (long high mountain ranges) which define the geography of the central part of country, with volcanic soils, plenty of rainfall and last but not least, hillsides so steep that were probably useless for any other agricultural activity.
The first registered shipment of 2,500 pounds of coffee from Colombia to United Sates was completed in 1835, thus becoming the first country to export coffee beans, and later the National Federation Of Coffee Growers was created in 1927 as an entity to promote and handle the crop that became the most important export for Colombia for many years.
This coffee crop created a new social class of land owners, middle class, who received a constant and important income, defining the independence of the coffee people.
During the first half of the XX century coffee related activities were so important in Colombia, that the Gross Domestic Product for the whole country was calculated boh with and without coffee dry milling, in an effort to properly evaluate GDP
Great coffee is often grown on steep parcels with volcanic soil rich in minerals, under wet climates, in tropical latitudes.
There are several coffee producing regions in Colombia, all of them enjoying ideal conditions for producing great coffee: frequent tropical rain, elevations between 3,600 and 6,300 feet with relatively low temperatures during the night and cool during the day, of course each of those regions provides a unique enviroment for coffee growing, which lately have been registered as Certified Origins
Colombian coffee is result of the dedication and resilience of over half a million small farmers each of them owning coffee plots of less than a dozen acres each.
The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, internationally known by its fictional spokesman ‘Juan Valdez’, is the coffee industry association representing these small coffee farmers and all the colombian coffee industry.
Coffee is grown in 18 States in Colombia, with a total production of 14 million bags (2015), in about 2´500.000 acres, by 500000 dedicated families.