Colombian coffee is one of the best-known worldwide for its taste and quality.
The tropical climate, the Sierra Nevada mountains, the Andes Mountains, altitude, and water sources are undoubtedly some of the characteristics that the country has to produce incredible beans with different aromas and flavors that have become icons of Colombia.
Although 100% of coffee production in Colombia is arabica, each area of the country is distinguished by something specific depending on the harvest process, season, and brewing.
Next, you will get to know the largest producing areas of the country with their coffee production characteristics and cup profile. This way you will have more context when we introduce you to the best Colombian coffees that come from different regions.
Let’s get started!
Coffee Producing Regions in Colombia
Colombia is a large country consisting of 32 departments or states. Surprisingly, most of them grow coffee!
We will present you the characteristics of each region by 4 main zones, which vary in geographical conditions and therefore produce a different cup profile.
The main coffee producing regions in this area are:
|La Guajira||Sweet and sour and chocolate||Low|
|Magdalena||Sweet and sour and chocolate||Low|
|Cesar||Sweet and sour and chocolate||Low|
|Norte de Santander||Chocolate||–|
Its production stage begins in March, with the rains, and ends with the harvest between October and November when the rainy season ends.
This region is characterized by producing a coffee more intense in body and with less acidity, fundamental characteristics of coffee that we will explain later. The reason is that this fruit is exposed to much higher temperatures and therefore, farmers plant the trees in shadier places which directly influences the final result that the consumer will have in the cup.
North-Central and South-Central Zones
The regions that stand out in this region for their coffee production are:
|Antioquia||Citrus and sweet||–||–|
|Caldas||Fruit and herbal||Medium||Medium|
|Risaralda||Fruit and herbal||Medium||Medium|
|Quindío||Fruit and herbal||Medium||Medium|
|Valle del Cauca||Fruit and herbal||Medium||Medium|
|Tolima||Citrus, sweet and fruity||High||–|
In this area, the harvest season goes from March to May and from September to November, which corresponds to the wet seasons of the region (essential characteristic for growing coffee). However, in the northernmost areas, the production phase could extend to June and December respectively.
These regions are characterized by producing more roasted, aromatic, and very good quality coffees, a great attraction for coffee lovers.
These areas have enormous wealth when it comes to coffee. For example, Antioquia is the second-largest coffee producing region in the country and perhaps one of the most positioned nationally and internationally.
Probably a large part of those interested in knowing general concepts about coffee have heard of Juan Valdez, a character created by the National Federation of Coffee Growers to promote the work and efforts of Colombian coffee growers. This exponent has elements alluding to the region of Antioquia due to its importance in the country.
Also, Tolima is the third most important region in the country and one of the most attractive regions for baristas.
In this area, we will find regions that are also icons in the production of coffee. Here is located what you have probably heard as the Coffee Triangle: Nariño, Cauca, and Huila.
Huila is the largest region in terms of coffee production. Its cultural wealth and growth year after year has made it position itself as the leading department to offer the best products.
The wet season in this region can start from October and end until June, which allows much of the year to grow coffee and its production stage is greater than that of other regions.
|Nariño||Citrus and sweet||High|
|Cauca||Citrus, sweet and floral||–|
|Huila||Sweet and wine||Medium-High|
Here you will find a more acidic coffee with intense aromas, a dense body, and a perfect combination of fruity and caramelized notes. Many features in a single sip that attract the looks of anyone.
A smaller region, but with highlights that are not left behind. Its main coffee regions are:
|Caquetá||Spicy and herbal||Low||–|
Its rainy season is very similar to the northern region, from March to November are the months with the highest efficiency to grow coffee.
This area is making several efforts to boost the production of coffee varieties because due to conflicts that plagued the country and especially this region years ago, its development was not as fast as in other areas. For that reason, here you will find a soft coffee, but with various aromas, flavors and densities.
The 15 Best Colombian Coffees
When talking about the best brands of coffee we must take into account the factors that we explained above. The final judgment on whether a coffee is good or not is going to depend largely on your tastes. If for you the best coffee is a bitter one, for someone else it may be the least favorite.
Below, you can find the 15 best coffees in Colombia in beans, ground, and instant, that have been positioned in the market for several reasons.
This ranking was made according to our own research and taking into account the most influential factors when choosing a coffee. You decide which one is your favorite.
Top 5 of the Best Colombian Coffee Beans
5. Huila Sur Blend Coffee from Finca Azahar
Tasting notes: caramel, strawberries, and cocoa.
Roasting degree: medium-strong
This coffee is grown in Pitalito, Palestina, and Acevedo with a blend of caramel and strawberry sweet notes and the characteristic flavor of cocoa.
Its objective is to deepen the roasting process, as this gives personality to each bag of coffee. Hence, it highlights and balances the sugar level, the perfect body, and the aromas that characterize each coffee from these different regions of the country.
4. Espresso Coffee from Valle Umbra
Tasting notes: caramelized with fruity tones and sweet hints
Roasting degree: medium
This coffee is grown by small farmers who are responsible for maintaining tradition and the best care to select their beans. It has an ideal balance between the dense body and the sweet and caramelized notes that characterize it.
It has not only positioned itself for its quality but also for the visibility it gives to the small farmers who are in charge of doing a job by hand.
3. Premium Selection from Juan Valdez
Origin: various regions of the country
Tasting notes: semi-dried grape sweet
Roasting degree: medium-high
One of the leading brands in Colombia and in the world with coffee beans, ground, instant coffee, and other products alluding to coffee.
This particular coffee stands out for its intense flavors and strong resistance. That is, its taste remains for a long time on the palate, which makes it very special. Of medium acidity and body with well noticeable aromas, this coffee is an icon of the brand and the country.
On top of that, they have a variety of coffees sourced from various regions such as Valle del Cauca, Tolima, Santander, Nariño, Huila, Antioquia, and more.
2. Gourmet Coffee from Café Quindío
Tasting notes: chocolate and sweet with medium acidity
Roasting degree: medium
This coffee, and especially the brand, is one of the most popular in the country.
Café Quindío offers a huge variety of beans and ground coffee. This is one of the best sellers for its intense flavor and for being the most traditional. However, they have others with more caramelized tones, with red fruits, with flower tones, etc.
1. Colombian Supremo from Volcanica Coffee
Origin: the Colombian Andes
Tasting notes: mild acidity and nutty and fruity notes
Roasting degree: medium
This Fair Trade certified coffee has a floral and fruity aroma that, with a medium tone of sweetness and acidity, makes it one of the most desirable coffees in the country. The balance found in this medium-bodied bean is undoubtedly one of the features that make it a 5 out of 5 according to its consumers.
This brand is responsible for roasting this coffee according to demand, which will ensure that you will get a fresh coffee. However, it will not always have exactly the same level of roasting and, therefore, the tasting notes may vary a little.
This type of bean is ideal for the French press, and not so much for an ordinary coffee maker.
Top 5 of the Best Colombian Ground Coffees
5. San Alberto Ground Coffee
Tasting notes: sweet, fruity, caramelized, and chocolate aromatic fragrances
Roasting degree: medium to strong
A family business that has been responsible for offering quality coffee while keeping the tradition alive. This brand got in the top of the best Colombian coffees because it is concerned with selecting cup by cup to ensure that each one has the characteristics of San Alberto coffee.
This is a coffee with a very creamy body that creates a pleasant balance with the tones of dark chocolate and fruity acidity.
4. Roasted and Ground Coffee from Águila Roja
Origin: Cauca and Valle del Cauca
Aguila Roja is one of the oldest and most preferred brands in the everyday life of Colombians.
Although we can not qualify this coffee as a Premium or special variety, it is a standard coffee of very good price that brings your palate closer to the essence of Colombian coffee. It is high-performance coffee with a pleasant taste.
3. Ibagué, Tolima coffee from Pergamino
Origin: Ibagué, Tolima
Tasting notes: accents of black tea, plum, sweet notes of panela, and citrus notes of tangerine
A 100% family company that has dedicated itself to offering coffee beans and ground coffee of excellent quality for Colombia and to export to the United States. For more than 35 years they have been dedicated to growing a standard coffee only for Colombia, but 7 years ago they expanded their market to provide freshly roasted coffee to ensure its excellence.
This Ibagué coffee has citrus flavor tones that go perfectly with the sweetness of the panela. Without a doubt, an experience of flavors and aromas in a single cup.
2. Sierra Nevada Origin Coffee from Juan Valdez
Origin: Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Tasting notes: hazelnut and creamy chocolate
Roasting degree: dark
Juan Valdez glistens once again in the top of the best Colombian and worldwide coffees.
This coffee with a strong aroma, a low acidity, and a heavy body is a tribute to one of our mountains, a very special one. The jungle, the forest, and the páramo come together in this mountain range to offer excellent climatic and geographical conditions, providing an excellent quality coffee.
1. Gourmet Coffee from Amor Perfecto
Tasting notes: citrus, fruity, with chocolate aroma and sweet tones of panela and honey
Roasting degree: medium
This is a brand that has made it to the national and international market of specialty coffees for its quality and high technology in all its processes. Amor Perfecto offers coffee beans, ground coffee, and endless coffee-related products.
This gourmet product is 100% Colombian, special, with the designation of origin and of the Arabic variety. Its acidity and medium body make it an excellent quality coffee, easily accessible and, above all, offering an unforgettable experience.
Top 5 of the Best Colombian Instant Coffees
5. Colcafé Clásico from Colcafé
A coffee with a very soft and classic flavor that is part of the daily life of Colombians. Although it is not the ideal coffee for a barista or for someone who wants to know Colombian coffee in-depth, it is a good option for those who enjoy drinking a daily cup of coffee without major complications.
4. Lukafe Sublime from Lukafe
A coffee that conveys the essence of roasting and grinding. It brings together aromas and flavors that are not easy to find or not expected to be found in instant coffee.
The company worked for more than 2 years on this process to bring to the Colombians’ table a little of what a freshly ground coffee in the country’s coffee plantations means.
3. Instant Amaretto Coffee from Café Buendía
Tasting notes: liqueur and nuts
Amaretto is a liqueur of Italian origin that is obtained from almonds and apricot.
This coffee has no liquor but retains aromas and flavors from it. When a 100% Colombian coffee of medium body is combined with the intense flavor of this liquor, it gives rise to a coffee with flavors and aromas not very common but quite attractive. It is easy to access and brew.
2. Nescafé Artesano Antioquia from Nescafé
Tasting notes: fruits
Roasting degree: medium
A Colombian coffee made from Arabica beans that despite being freeze-dried, is not far behind others and offers an excellent taste with fruity notes and a medium acidity. Its medium intensity gives it personality, aroma, and flavor typical of the Antioquia region, which is characterized by offering excellent quality coffee due to its warm climate.
It is rated with 4 stars out of 5 on its official page which assures us that it is one of the favorite products on the table of Colombians.
1. Instant Coffee from Matiz
Tasting notes: citrus, floral, chocolate, and nuts.
The Matiz brand offers excelso coffee in beans, ground, instant form, and in capsules with the motto of the mastery that their coffees have. A coffee where fruity flavors are the protagonists, thanks to being grown at more than 1,700 meters of altitude, can offer greater flavor and quality with many nuances of flavors as expressed by its brand name.
Is coffee better in beans, ground or instant?
This will depend on what you are looking for.
Instant coffee will undoubtedly be the easiest and fastest option to access it. You will not have an approach to the analysis that you could have with a ground or bean coffee. Experiencing the degree of roasting, the different aromas and flavors will not be possible in this type of coffee because it is a more commercial type.
That’s why there are not many local or independent brands that are dedicated to developing this product, because its production should not be like that of a coffee bean and therefore its price should be lower.
Ground coffee will bring you closer to good coffee. Here you will find very commercial brands, but also many independent, regionalized, specialized, and endless types of brands dedicated to growing the best coffee in their region.
This brewing requires a little more technique and you will also find many ways to make a cup of ground coffee that will also influence its final taste.
If you want to know more about coffee tasting, you should choose a brand that is responsible for growing and harvesting coffee in some designated coffee zone because this will undoubtedly give you a broader look at the issue. Most brands that produce ground coffee also produce coffee beans.
The most recommended option for experts and those who want to discover coffee in depth will be the coffee beans. You will be able to see and interact with all the properties that this wonderful fruit has. With its aroma, its color, its texture, and the final result.
The closer you are to the original state of the coffee, the better it will be.
And now what…?
If you’ve made it this far, it means you still have a long way to go. Exploring coffee at its maximum dimension will be an experience you won’t want to miss.
Now that you have the basic principles to choose good Colombian coffee, it is time to train your palate and continue reading about its properties and characteristics. Remember that you will decide which is the best coffee for you and why, but now you have more reasons to explain it.
If you liked this article and want to know more about quality coffee, be sure to check out our analysis of the best coffees in the world.
And if you don’t settle for trying coffee from just one country, we have more recommendations: