Whether you drink your coffee prepared from a French press, a machine, a Moka pot, or a Chemex, like it black, with sugar, or with milk, Colombian coffee is a favorite around the world. Along with countries like Brazil and Vietnam, Colombia is one of the world’s top producers and exporters of coffee. What you choose to drink can have a positive social impact.
I will share a few of my favorite socially-conscious coffee brands in Colombia that are committed to making your morning cup of coffee more meaningful. Let’s look beyond the label to know more about these amazing local companies that are making a positive impact on this vibrant country.
Telling a Story Through Coffee
WeKoffee was started in Medellin by siblings who were passionate about their roots and sharing the beautiful tradition of Colombian coffee. WeKoffee seeks to build relationships with local farmers and tell its unique story.
One of WeKoffee’s most popular coffee beans comes from a remote farm in Tamesis, a pueblo located four hours outside of Medellin. WeKoffee’s Tamesis variety is grown and harvested by Leidy Rios and her husband John. Through their production of coffee, Leidy has been able to study for a degree in sustainable tourism and hopes to start giving tours and sharing her passion and knowledge of their beautiful farm.
Coffee, Conservation and a Cause
Cafe Urbania, located in Patio, Bonito (El Poblado), is a trendy coffee shop that offers a great place to work. Their coffee, called La Paz, is cultivated and processed in Granada, Antioquia by families who were victims of the armed conflict. Many of these families had been displaced and have returned to their native land to cultivate coffee. Urbania Cafe has also partnered with Cafe Jaguar and Web Conserva to focus on conserving the natural habitat of the jaguar in San Lucas and incentivize the farmers to produce coffee.
For coffee growers and coffee drinkers, anything we can do, any little shift in the choices we make as consumers counts for something. Supporting brands with shade-grown coffee is becoming increasingly popular. Shade-grown coffee simply means that the coffee is grown under the shade of other trees. This can range from the farmer planting shade trees on their farm to planting coffee trees in the existing forests – just like how wild coffee grows.
With rich biodiversity, producing shade-grown coffee provides a welcome refuge for wildlife whose habitat is otherwise shrinking and supports the preservation of natural habitats for other species of animals. One of my personal favorites is the Guayacan Cafe, from Concordia, Antioquia which offers a delicious coffee grown under the beautiful Guayacan trees.
The Rebirth of a Neighborhood
Another favorite coffee of mine is Cafe Rituales. Located in the hills just outside of Medellin, the La Sierra barrio used to be one of Medellin’s most violent neighborhoods. Cafe RItuales started Proyecto Renacer to support up to thirty coffee farmers in this area. The project represents the resilience of the people of La Sierra as well as the hope they have for a peaceful community.
From the bean to your morning cup of coffee, coffee can be powerful. This beautiful Colombian tradition is the livelihood of fathers, mothers, and children, it tells the stories of local farmers and represents the future and possibility of this country.
What are some of your favorite local brands to support, and what causes are you passionate about? Tell us!
By: Erin Colton-Enberg