The Search for Colombian Coffee in Colombia
Coffee. I think it’s the one addiction I have left…and believe me, there have been quite a few. Some of them benign and some of them quite destructive I’m afraid. Fortunately, that’s all ancient history and this fixation on coffee in all it’s delicious guises is what I’ve got left. Not so bad in the grand scheme of things…
In Canada, there were daily Starbucks runs, which turned into Tim Horton’s runs when the ‘latte factor’ threatened to ruin my financial life forever. When the 18% cream from those Timmy’s cups started attaching themselves to my thighs and waist in fatty clumps, those everyday double doubles morphed into percolated pots of coffee at home.
Now that the financial future has been set firmly back on course, we have the added pleasure of indulging in coffee all over the world.
I was especially excited to try out a simple percolated coffee in Colombia. It’s a tough choice, and definitely not one made lightly (coffee is serious business, don’t you know?), but Colombian is my favourite of all the coffees. Maybe I should choose something more exotic, like maybe that one that the cats poo out of their bums in Indonesia, but no, a fresh cuppa brewed Colombian coffee with milk and sugar is all it takes to make me very, very happy.
So imagine my disappointment when we got to Bogota, ordered a cup of coffee and ended up with a mug of lightly tinted brown water with very little flavour. Where was the rich deliciousness I had been looking forward to? Sadly, not in my cup.
Then I found out that Colombia exports it’s highest quality product, and the rest is left for the locals…and that’s what we were drinking. 🙁
To get a decent cup of coffee, that actually tasted like coffee, we resorted to ordering espresso based drinks, like the tinto (basically a strong Americano). And even coffee shops, like what we’re used to in North America, didn’t exist in Colombia until just 10 years ago.
It wasn’t until we hit the Caribbean Coast that we found the mecca of Colombian coffee: Juan Valdez. Real, filter brewed coffee and free wifi too. Score! As a side note, am I the only one who remembers the Juan Valdez commercials from the 80s? I had a good laugh seeing Juan still peddling his wares in Colombia after all this time.
The Juan Valdez Cafe turned out to be the perfect spot to unwind and escape the oppressive heat and humidity of Cartagena, all while downing cup after cup of the good stuff. I was one happy female Bear, and I’m pretty sure that the Male Bear was pretty content too (since he has caught the addiction to coffee from me, like a bad cold).
When we moved onto Taganga – a small fishing village on a quiet bay 4 hours east of Cartagena, I was overjoyed to find high quality French press Colombian coffee in a small independent shop called the Bonsai Cafe. This was real local, organic coffee grown in the Sierra Nevadas, ground and imported into my cup…and I could really taste it. Totally divine.