Coffee Shopping Guide: What’s the Best Colombian Coffee Brand?

Coffee Shopping Guide: What’s the Best Colombian Coffee Brand?

Many people think that the only places they’ll find high-quality artisan coffee in Colombia are Starbucks, Juan Valdez Café, and Oma (three national coffee chains). 

However, the coffee you can pick up at your local supermarket is actually just as high-quality. Better yet, it’s affordable, and you can brew it at home!

So, would you like to know everything about homemade Colombian coffee? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading for everything you need to know about homebrewing basics in Colombia. 

Homemade Brewing Methods in Colombia

Despite the fact that the country produces arguably the world’s best coffee, many Colombians prefer to buy instant coffee bags that only need hot water to be ready and then get to work as fast as possible.

Other locals prefer to buy ground coffee, add boiling water, and then wait 10 to 15 minutes for the coffee residue to rush to the bottom of the container. This is what most Americans would refer to as Turkish coffee back home. 

You’ll also find that many Colombians like the French press. This is a teapot-like device with a press at the top that you use to press down when you’re ready to brew your coffee. The result is coffee in less time and without lumps, sort of the happy medium between instant coffee and Turkish coffee.

Regardless of which method you choose, the available coffee is all pretty high quality, making it worth purchasing!

Best Supermarkets in Medellin to Buy Coffee

Courtesy of Revistapym

In Colombia, you can find ground or instant coffee in most convenience stores near your hotel or Airbnb, as well as in larger stores.

You’ll also notice that as you tour Medellin, you’ll find many artisan coffee shops that sell their own brand of coffee grown on different farms in villages surrounding Medellin.

One of the best places to buy a range of types of coffee (everything from craft coffee to your staple Starbucks beans) is Carulla. There, you’ll find all kinds of coffee in any price range. 

A few other shops where you can find a good selection of coffee for homebrewing are:

  • Colsubsidio: an average supermarket which offers its own coffee brand at very low prices.
  • Éxito: the Colombian version of Walmart, you can even find the French press there.
  • Olímpica: a large supermarket with entire aisles of coffee brands. 
  • Jumbo: another supermarket where you can find coffee bags of all types and sizes.

Any of these are good picks for picking up coffee to make in your apartment, hotel room, or Airbnb.

How to Choose the Best Coffee

Despite being one of the largest exporters of coffee, in Colombia, you can find coffee ranging from very low quality to very high quality. This is why it’s important to know how to choose the best coffee, so that it’s worth the effort of preparing it at home.

The quality of a brand or type of coffee is measured by the rank it receives in the global market, also called the cupping score. This scale goes from 1 to 100, with 1 being the worst and 100 being the best. 

In other words, the higher the cupping score is, the more expensive and exclusive coffee brands will be.

To assign a rank, professional tasters evaluate the smell, taste, fragrance, body, and acidity of the grain. Then a selling price is assigned according to the coffee score.

While in Colombia, you can find coffee ranking between 40 and 90. In the United States, you can find coffee ranking between 50 and 90.

The Best Coffee Brands in Colombia

Now that you know a little more about the quality of a coffee bean and where you can buy it, let’s take a look at the best coffee brands in Colombia.

Here are a few top brands to be aware of. 

Café Juan Valdez

Juan Valdez is of the most representative brands of Colombia. You can even find some coffee Juan Valdez shops in the US!

Juan Valdez coffee is 100% Colombian and has very mild flavors that fall somewhere between acidic and sweet. They have a number of different varieties: 

  • Origin: Regional coffee from different parts of Colombia
  • Special: Coffee grown on the Juan Valdez farm.
  • Premium: Coffee with a high rank that’s some of the most exclusive coffee in the store.
  • Instant coffee: Instant soluble coffee.

Most people seem to find that the taste of this coffee compares very well to Starbucks coffee. An,d although in Colombia you can find Starbucks in the big cities, the Juan Valdez coffee is a nice alternative if you want something more local. 

Café Quindio

Courtesy of TripAdvisor

This is coffee grown in the national coffee park located in Montenegro, a village in the department of Quindio. It has sweet and fruity notes, with a strong flavor and body and generally a medium roast. 

In addition to having their own line of organic, premium, and flavored coffee, they offer a wide variety of desserts made from their artisanal coffee.

Pro tip: try the arequipe or dulce de leche with coffee. The blackberry and coffee jam are also good choices and go great on some toast alongside your morning brew! 

Café Sello Rojo

Moving away from high-quality premium coffee, Sello Rojo coffee is a brand you’ll find in most Colombian kitchens. This is one of the brands that offer good quality coffee at very low prices, and would be the equivalent of Folger’s in the US. 

However, due to its strong flavor and aroma, and dark color, this definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. Still, it can be a good brew for waking yourself up in the morning!

Sip a Cup of Homemade Colombian Coffee

Trying a coffee tasting experience in Colombia is half the fun of visiting this tropical country. However, there’s something to be said about just getting your hands on some good brews to try on your own!

So, what do you think? Will you pick up Juan Valdez or Café Quindio? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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