Coffee tours in Colombia

Everything You Need to Know About Coffee Tours in Colombia

Coffee lovers in the know talk about the world’s best coffee beans and coffee-producing regions in reverent tones. And Colombia, one of the biggest coffee-producing countries in the world, is considered one of their favourites as its Arabica coffee is incomparable and heralded world over.

In fact, many travellers that visit Colombia make it a point to experience its caffeine culture, whether by taking a day to visit coffee plantations or joining a guided coffee tour that takes caffeine addicts to one of its coffee regions to visit cafes, explore plantations and indulge in amazing cups of coffee. 

Before your visit, here’s everything you must know about Colombia’s coffee regions.

Travel to: Colombia

Coffee tours in Colombia

Colombia’s coffee regions

South American coffee regions are a far more complex subject than one would think. It extends far beyond the famous Coffee Triangle and your typical Arabica beans. And getting to know each region – as well as its weather, climate, harvest cycle, and flavour profile – demands an immersion most travellers would not have time for.

But if we must simplify, we suppose you might separate them by their geographic location, whose altitude, climate, solar exposure, water availability and even soil essentially determine the conditions for particular bean flavours and harvest cycles. Then, of course, each of these four regions is home to 19 sub-regions that span over 900,000 hectares and more than 500,000 coffee farms. Stay with us… 

Coffee tours in Colombia
Photo credit: mckaysavage on / CC BY

Northern Region

Home to the sub-regions of Magdalena, La Guajira, Cesar, Norte de Santander and Santander, this region harvests its coffee late in the wet season around October and November. Some sub-regions like Santander produce shade-grown coffee, like the Central Region, producing full-bodied beans with lower acidity.

Central Region

As it’s home to Colombia’s legendary Coffee Triangle, the Central Region, which encompasses the Central North and the Central South zones, is responsible for most of the country’s coffee production. This is because the weather in these areas is comprised of two dry and two wet seasons, rewarding coffee producers with two harvest seasons annually.

Southern Region

Being so close to the Equator, coffee in the Southern Region, which spans the sub-regions of Narino, Cauca, Huila and South of Tolima, is grown at a higher altitude and higher temperatures. These conditions produce beans with higher acidity and specifically, a sweeter aroma with hints of caramel and fruit. Harvest season in this region is typically from April through June.

Eastern Region

Spanning the subregions of Arauca, Casanera, Meta and Caqueta, the Eastern coffee-growing region in Colombia is also its smallest, with only a little more than 5,000 producers and around 10,500 acres of coffee-growing land. Much like in the Northern Region, they harvest their coffee from October to November.

Coffee tours in Colombia
Photo credit: Roubicek on Visualhunt / CC BY-ND

The Coffee Triangle

Despite the complexity and diversity of Colombia’s coffee growing regions, the Coffee Triangle in the Central Region has been stealing the show for many years. Also known to many as the ‘Coffee Belt’, the ‘Coffee Zone’ and even the unofficially as the main Colombian coffee growing region, it is blessed with the ideal conditions in terms of weather, climate, soil and geographic location to produce excellent coffee beans and harvest them twice a year.

Coffee tours in Colombia
Photo credit: mckaysavage on Visual hunt / CC BY

Travellers from all over the world flock to its sub-regions of Caldas, Quindío and Risaralda, and more specifically to the cities of Pereira, Manizales and Armenia, in search of the beans that have been heralded as the best in the world.

Yet these departments aren’t only well-equipped for coffee-focused tourism. They’re also beautiful places worth visiting for the not quite coffee obsessed, with their verdant rolling hills, traditional architecture, charming towns, and exceptional trails for an unforgettable hiking or trekking tour. 

Coffee tours in Colombia

Where to go on a coffee tour?

With coffee so deeply-rooted in its culture, there’s little surprise in the fact that there’s practically an inexhaustible amount of coffee tours in Colombia, and not just in the Coffee Triangle.

Where you want to go on a coffee tour depends on what you’d like to experience. Would you like a more immersive approach and visit the other regions, or would you like to stay in the Coffee Triangle region? Would you prefer your multi-day trip caffeine culture focused, or would you be interested in touring and exploring Colombia’s other cultures

Coffee tours in Colombia
Photo credit: Laurent de Walick on / CC BY

Touring the Coffee Triangle is, of course, an obvious choice and a good place to start as it already offers a mix of coffee experiences, urban escapes and outdoor adventures. Your tour might be short and only include one city. Or if you can carve out the time, it can be a proper coffee immersion trip, visiting cafes and coffee estancias as well as sampling local dishes and hiking in the stunning Cocora Valley.

Depending on what you’d like to get out of your trip, you might extend your travels onwards to the Southern region and see for yourself how they grow their sweet-tasting beans, to Medellin to spend a couple of days admiring its glorious mix of architectural wonders, or to the charming, colourful streets of Cartagena, which demands a lazy day exploring. How you spend your time enjoying this local experience, is completely up to you.

Are you a coffee lover? Share your best coffee-related travel tips or places to visit in Colombia. 

Michelle is Los Angeles-based writer, editor, and photographer with a bad case of wanderlust. Her dream, next to travelling the world, is to own her own funky, boutique hotel with a small animal sanctuary so she can spend the rest of her days chilling with cats and hedgehogs. Follow her on Instagram .

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