The Current

Colombians finally taste their own brewed coffee

With the peace agreement between FARC and the government, Colombians are finally enjoying their own coffee for the first time.
Though Colombia coffee is among the world's best, Colombians couldn't buy it — until now. (Pixabay)
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Colombia grows and produces some of the best coffee in the world and finally, Colombians are able to enjoy it too.

Until now, the country was drinking coffee made from third and second-grade beans grown locally. 

Some coffee were imported from Vietnam and Brazil, known as Arabica beans. 

"Ninety per cent of Colombia's beans were being exported and the ones left behind were the poorest quality, but now things are changing, and we can find really good beans in our coffees," says Bogota-based freelance journalist Camila Pena.

With the consumption of coffee now skyrocketing, cafes are popping up in Bogota and all over Colombia.

Pena spoke to cafe owners who said most of their success have to do with being able to deal directly with the coffee growers themselves, something they were not able to do during Colombia's long war with FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The federation of growers has been the backbone of Colombia's coffee industry and culture, representing 500,000 producers, who mostly work on small, family-run farms. (Pixabay.com)

Pena says Colombians are taking pride in their country's largest export, and many say Colombian coffee is the best.

"Of course, I love my coffee. and I am so happy that finally I am trying it," she tells Tremonti.
 

How coffee transformed the world

Coffee historian Mark Pendergrast credits the rise in Colombian cafe culture to the work done by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), which represents more than 500,000 coffee-growing families in the country.

"It's almost a state within a state. It's a very powerful, well-financed research and marketing organization, and in 1960, they created the Juan Valdez campaign," he tells Tremonti. 

Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World, says the civil war left an impact on the growing regions of Colombia and farmers.

"The coffee farmers were caught between the paramilitaries and the government — it was a terrible situation and fortunately that's better although there are simmering problems in Colombia to this day," he says.

Coffee growers have been vulnerable for a very long time, Pendergrast says, which is not unsual in coffee-growing regions. 

"There was a Colombian coffee grower who said, 'When we aren't in a revolution, we are waiting for one.'  So I'm hoping that that is permanently better now."


This segment was produced by The Current's Samira Mohyeddin.