Whoever hears or reads Colombia usually automatically thinks of coffee! ❤️
Of course, this is no coincidence, because Colombia is not only one of the world's largest coffee-growing countries, but also a leading force in terms of quality.
What makes Colombia so special as a coffee-growing region?
Quality clearly plays the main role here: In Colombia, with small experimental exceptions, only coffee of the Coffea Arabica species is grown on small to medium-sized, often family-run farms; in the leading growing countries, species such as the high-producing and resistant Coffea Canephora, also known as Robusta, predominate, which does not serve the same aspects as Coffea Arabica in terms of quality and is grown in large plantations, often in unsustainable monoculture.
Curse and blessing: The coffee federation FNC
In the coffee world, one often hears and reads about the "Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia" as an antagonist to specialty coffee, as the non-profit organization that controls and regulates the coffee market in Colombia has been setting the rules around the cultivation and distribution of Colombian coffee in its favor for many decades.
But this doesn't happen without reason: the FNC is also the country's largest coffee exporter and benefits for its major customers from a national blend that must have the same to similar attributes across regions, year-round.
How is it possible?
The Coffea Arabica species has hundreds of different varieties that vary greatly in their natural flavor depending on how they are grown and external conditions. Farmers who grow specialty coffees take this knowledge and thus create their own coffees, which are very popular in the demanding coffee sector worldwide.
However, those who want to offer coffee that is always consistent in large quantities do not benefit much from this insight. Therefore, the FNC fights with all available means to ensure that farmers grow the same variety in the same style and with the highest possible yield.
Using a controlling organization as an advantage
So, for some coffee farmers, this non-profit organization seems to be a stone in the way of specialty coffee, but from an economic point of view, this is not the case.
To get to a large quantity of equally well grown coffee requires a lot of organizational and educational groundwork, which greatly benefits the farmers compared to other growing countries.
Colombian coffee farmers consistently have a great deal of basic agronomic knowledge and a functioning infrastructure, even on the smallest farms, which enables them to grow high-quality coffee that can command a premium price on the world market. In other countries, coffee farmers are often "just" a small cog in a large organization and in no way as independent as the farmers in Colombia.