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Colombia is known for its amazing coffee culture! So you should definitely do a tour to a coffee farm in the famous coffee zone of Colombia. We highly recommend a visit to Cafe de la Cima, a family-run coffee farm. A trip to this wonderful plantation offers a truly authentic coffee experience: we learned about all the steps that include the production, from the planting of the coffee plant to roasting and grinding the beans. Furthermore, on the finca we could really feel the passion and work that the family puts into its business.
The Coffee Farm is located in Vereda de la Toscana, Fredonia. From Medellín, it took us about 1.5 hours to get there. The drive there led us through beautiful green landscapes and over bumpy, mountainous roads. Upon arrival, we were flashed by the breathtaking view of the Andean region of Antioquia and could immediately pick up on the peaceful atmosphere of the finca. The owners of the farm, Octavio Acevedo and his wife Rubiela Pareja, were very friendly and accommodating hosts. We had the honor that Don Octavio himself led us over his farm, but we were told that with tourists normally his children do the tour with another guide to translate from Spanish.
On the patio of the small farm, we had a traditional Colombian breakfast that consisted of tasty arepa, cheese, and some delicious self-produced coffee. (Check out our blog post on arepas to learn more about Colombian gastronomy). We enjoyed the breakfast while our hosts told us about their peasant life and coffee cultivation.
After this refreshment, we visited the plantation. Due to the mountainous landscape, the walking path was quite steep. But the hikes were short, so it wasn’t too challenging. The family owns about 13.000 coffee plants on 3 hectares. Apart from coffee, the family also grows vegetables for self-subsistence like plantains, yucca and chili peppers. They also own chicken, geese, cows and other animals.
First, we were shown how the farmer grows coffee plants: they plant the seeds in an extra patch of soil and wait until the plants are well developed before they move the best ones to the actual plantation. Afterward, we hiked through the rows of coffee plants. We were invited to pick the ripe red coffee fruits and collect them in a basket. From in between the green plants we probably had the best view of the surrounding mountains.
View from within the plantation
Up in the hill, we were shown the “cafeducto”, a system with tubes which with the help of water transports the coffee fruits down the mountain back to the house. At the house, the red fruits that got washed down by the cafeducto enter a machine where they are dehulled, so it only leaves the white-beige coffee beans. The coffee beans then enter a washing tank, which separates the beans into heavy beans with high quality and the floating lighter beans that are of lower quality. Finally, they are laid out to dry. La Cima has a special shack for drying the beans. Don Octavio demonstrated how to open the giant drawers and the roof of the shack to expose the beans to the sun.
After the hike, Doña Rubiela served us a delicious lunch with rice, beans, plantains, meat, salad and refreshing homemade fruit juice. All tasted great! Apparently, it wouldn’t be a problem to ask for vegetarian dishes. Doña Rubiela told us that she usually employs some of the townswomen for cooking and preparing lunch - the visit of tourists to La Cima thus not only benefits the family but also local people who work on the farm.
Following lunch, we were shown how the coffee beans are processed. To enter the room we were required to wear a hairnet for hygiene reasons. The dried coffee beans are put into a roasting machine and roasted over time at a different level of heat until they are getting their signature dark color. Finally, they are cooled down quickly and depending on the kind of coffee ground finely or coarsely. The smell of the freshly ground coffee was amazing!
Don Octavio shows how the beans are dried
The last part of the tour included some tasting of the farm’s coffee products. The freshly brewed coffee tasted fantastic. Even if you aren’t a coffee-expert you will definitely be able to tell the difference between this coffee and the one you have at home. Aside from coffee and espresso, we were also served a refreshing coffee lemonade that we liked a lot. As a little snack, we tried some coffee beans covered in chocolate - delicious! Naturally, we bought some of the delicious coffee for our office!
The weather during our visit was pleasant, but the sun in Colombia is strong, so we recommend to bring sun blocker and a hat to shield from the sun. For the hikes, it is a good idea to bring sturdy shoes, as the paths on the plantation is a little steep. We also advise to bring mosquito repellent, there are some hungry mosquitos in the middle of the coffee plants.
All in all, the trip to this coffee plantation really showed us why the Colombian coffee culture is so special. It is so interesting to learn that every step of the coffee procession influences the final taste of the coffee. If you have the chance to go there - do it, it is so worth it!
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