Guide to Specialty Colombian Coffee Selection

 

 

SPECIALTY COFFEE IN LAYMAN'S TERMS

In order to select the coffee that you will enjoy the most, it is helpful to understand the various terms, regions and characteristics that define coffee beans. We hope that this guide can help shed some light on the more technical side of choosing the best coffee for you.

The best way to determine which coffee suits you best, is to come in to Vereda Central and speak with one of our baristas, tell them a bit about what you enjoy most in your cup of java and ask them questions, and most importantly try various coffees until you find the one you enjoy most!

 

 

Vereda Central's Coffee Categories

For many years people have favoured "Colombian Coffee”. However, not all Colombian coffees are equal. The taste and quality of beans varies materially. 

Many large coffee companies obtain beans from various regions all over Colombia, based on the most cost effective supply at any given time. The beans are then mixed together creating a blend. While Vereda Central also provides blends of coffee, we do things a bit differently, as described below.

Blend: Vereda Central's blends are composed purely of the specialty beans we have sourced directly from farmers. We combine certain of the beans in order to reach specific, previously proven flavour profiles. Thus, we blend multiple crops to achieve the specific flavour we are looking for. This method not only results in the ability to provide very specific flavours, but also consistency, ensuring our blends always taste the same.

Single State Origin: At Vereda Central we go directly to the farmer to acquire our beans ensuring our customers know exactly where the coffee in their cup comes from. This gives us the ability to precisely trace the origin of each bean and the way they have been processed and treated. We consider this to be important so that our customers can appreciate the differences between varieties, origins and farms.

Limited Edition: These are the most unique, rare and hard to get varietals of whole coffee beans world-wide. Vereda Central's Limited Editions are rare varieties with unique and amazing flavours. Coffee growers take a lot of pride in these beans because they are challenging to harvest correctly and usually require unconventional processing methods to achieve higher qualifications. Typically, these beans are only available at exclusive auctions. Because of Vereda Central's Colombian roots, we are fortunate to occasionally acquire a few kilos of these rare beans to indulge our most demanding coffee connoisseurs. Generally, our Limited Edition coffees score over 90 points on the SCAA scale (Specialty Coffee Association of America) and are considered Grand Cru. Almost always they should be single state origins.  

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Vereda

Vereda in its literal translation means "path". In Colombia, names were given to the mountain paths that traversed and connected the numerous farms. Over the years, the names associated with these paths were adopted by residents to name their tiny villages. Today in Colombia, the term "Vereda" is used to refer to these villages. The coffee farms throughout Colombia are located in these veredas.

Origin of our name 

We chose Vereda Central as the name for our company because we are based in Bogota, located in the centre of Colombia. Everything is centred in Bogota, commerce, government, industry and population. Thus, "Vereda Central”, the central village. 

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Coffee Growing Regions of Colombia

Colombian Specialty Coffee Growing Regions Map

 

 

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Variety

There are two major types of coffee bean, Arabica and Robusta. Robusta beans are the lower quality of the two and are usually used for instant / low quality coffee. In Colombia we grow mainly Arabica beans but these have many different varieties. Originally, Colombia was known globally for its high quality smooth coffee, a result of Colombia harvesting mainly Caturra and Colombian varieties but through the years new and exciting varieties emerged and the coffee growers started to try them with amazing results. Today there are countless varieties but the most common are: Caturra, Castillo, Tabi, Bourbon, Colombia, Geisha, SL28.

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Process

As coffee became more specialized, growers developed new and improved ways of processing their crops. Today, the three most common processes are:
Washed: the beans go through a de-pulper and are then washed in water and finally sun dried 
Honey: the skin of the fruit is taken off and then the fruit is left to dry under the sun with the pulp
Natural: The most difficult of the three, beans are left to dry with the pulp and skin of the fruit, as though it fell naturally from the tree

 

 

Altitude

Broadly speaking, the altitude at which a given crop is grown determines its type. Altitude is generally measured in MASL (Meters Above Sea Level). Robusta beans are grown at lower altitudes, ranging from 0-900 MASL while the higher quality Arabica beans are grown at higher altitudes, ranging from 900-2000 MASL. 

Many coffee growers have moved to higher altitudes to grow specialty coffee varietals because they have found that lower oxygen levels and less atmospheric pressure improves the characteristics of the fruit.

The manner in which fruit in higher altitudes grow, combined with the extra effort required for these fruits to pull nutrients from the ground, as well as the type of soil, accompanying vegetation, surroundings and general weather conditions are better for these types of beans. However, other factors make growing crops in higher altitudes more challenging, such as freezing temperatures and various diseases that can penetrate trees in higher altitudes.

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