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How Coffee Came to Colombia


Coffee is the second most consumed beverage on the planet, after water. On average, some 400,000 million cups of coffee are drunk per year, and around 125 million people live from its cultivation and production with some 100 million bags per year.

Its history began centuries ago in Ethiopia, in the African continent, where coffee was initially drunk in beverages or by chewing its leaves, then the Arabs were responsible for its expansion throughout the Arab world and then in Turkey in 1554. In the XVII century it entered the European continent through Venice and expanded to reach the American continent in the XVIII century. This expansion was thanks to the Dutch who did not want too much dependence on the Arabs. At the beginning of the 18th century Holland had the number one place in world coffee production.

One of the theories of how coffee arrived in Latin America is that the Dutch were the ones that brought it first to Surinam and then the French in the 18th century brought it to Colombia and Brazil. 

Now, in Colombia, coffee has around 300 years of history since it was brought in the XVIII century. Approximately in the year 1835 the first bags produced in the eastern part of Colombia were exported to different countries from the border city of Cúcuta.

There is a legend in the Colombian territory that tells that the increase in coffee production in Colombia was thanks to a Jesuit priest named Francisco Romero in a town called Salazar de las Palmas, located in the department of Norte de Santander.

It is said that when his followers went to confession, the priest, as a penance to redeem their sins, would have them plant coffee. It was thanks to this that it is said that coffee production began to expand to other departments of the Colombian territory and by 1850 had reached Cundinamarca, Antioquia and Caldas.

By the end of the XIX century in Colombia, production had gone from 60,000 sacks to more than 600,000 sacks and by the end of the XIX century coffee became the main export product, which generated the movement of money in the territory.

The change from the XIX to the XX century brought a great fall in the price of coffee and because of this there was a crisis that changed the way of seeing things. This favored the small producers that were growing and coffee development moved to the west of the country.

In 1927 the National Federation of Coffee Growers was created to help coffee growers and represent them.

In 1938 the research center CENICAFE was born, which was responsible for many achievements such as the Castillo variety resistant to plagues such as rust.

In 1959 two very important events took place: the character of Juan Valdez was born and a Colombian Coffee office was opened in Tokyo, making Japan become the second largest consumer of Colombian Coffee in the world.

In 1984 the Colombian Coffee seal is created so that it can be identified throughout the world.

What varieties of coffee are cultivated in Colombia?

The Robusta and Arabica types are the most produced coffees in the world market. In Colombia only Arabica coffee is cultivated, which produces a very smooth beverage that is more widely accepted and has a better price. 

The coffee growing zone of the country is distributed in more than 580 municipalities and 20 departments, that with its pleasant climate, make the coffee to adapt and be considered one of the best (or the best) in the world.


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