Colombian coffee is famous across the world for its premium quality. What sets this coffee apart and how is it different from Arabica coffee?
The debate of Arabica vs Colombian coffee can be confusing for many. To start with, let’s understand the intricacies of these coffees and that will help you decide between the two.
Arabica coffee, also known by its scientific name Coffea Arabica, is a species of coffee known for its complex flavors and high quality. Arabica is one of two main commercial species of coffee, the other being Robusta which is considered lower quality. Most specialty coffee on the market is Arabica.
Originating in the Arabian Peninsula and Northeast Africa, Arabica is a prized crop that takes years of dedication and hard work to cultivate. Arabica is grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions and has many varieties, both natural sub-varietals and man-made cultivars.
Colombian coffee is a type of specialty coffee, and like all specialty coffee, it’s also Arabica coffee. So why is it differentiated as Colombian coffee? Colombian coffee has unique characteristics and its name helps with tracing and quality control.
Colombian coffee is simply Arabica grown in regions of Colombia. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t major differences between Arabica and Colombian coffee. The unique growing conditions and processing methods helps Colombian arabica coffee stand out from other Arabica coffees. In general, Colombian arabica coffee is smoother and with less acidity. It also requires more work to process, making it more expensive and harder to find outside specialty stores and cafes.
What Is the Difference Between Arabica and Colombian Coffee?
The growing conditions in Colombia are responsible for the extraordinary quality and flavor profile of Colombian coffee. There are a few key conditions that determine the difference between Arabica and Colombian coffee, namely:
Colombia presents some distinctive growing conditions that give Colombian coffee its high quality and complex flavor. Colombian Arabica coffee is grown at high altitudes, with a lush and humid climate combined with indirect sunlight (thanks to the presence of shade trees like banana palms). In addition, the soil is volcanic making it rich in nutrients. Most coffee farms in Colombia are small estates, on terraced and hilly land. All these factors make Colombia one of the best and most desirable coffee-growing regions in the world.
Colombian coffee has an extra processing step called washing. This harvesting method starts with picking the coffee cherries by hand and removing the pulp by mashing the cherries with a pulper. These mashed up beans are allowed to dry and washed with water. This uses massive amounts of water and a lot of skill. Colombian coffee is also called ‘washed Arabica’ because of this wet processing method. The dried beans are then roasted and packed.
Colombian coffee is more expensive than most other types of Arabica coffee. The cultivation of this coffee, the harvesting, and the processing are all highly labor-intensive and demand proficiency and skill. This makes Colombian coffee more costly. However, the high cost is balanced with the high quality of the coffee.
Is Colombian Coffee Stronger Than Regular Coffee?
There really isn’t anything that can be called ‘regular coffee’. All coffee either Arabica or Robusta, with various cultivars and varieties available. Robusta, which is used to make instant coffee, has much more caffeine than Arabica, so Colombian coffee may not be stronger. The amount of coffee used and the type of brewing method also play a big role in determining the strength of a cup, so those are bigger factors to consider. In general, Colombian coffee has lower caffeine even compared to standard Arabica and other Arabica variants.
Colombian Coffee Vs Arabica Coffee: How Do You Choose?
If you love coffee, give them both a try! Colombian coffee is just a variety of Arabica and gives you a different experience in terms of flavor. It has low acidity and a mild flavor which some people prefer. If you want a caffeine boost, stick to Arabica coffee or even Robusta (as long as you can tolerate the bitterness of Robusta).
Colombian coffee is definitely worth trying at least once. The quality of the coffee is simply unmatched and a treat for any coffee lover. If you like Colombian Arabica, consider trying out other regional variants of Arabica coffee like Ethiopian or Brazilian coffee. After all, trying out a diversity of flavors is the great thing about coffee!