No 14

Café de Colombia Offers a Great Variety of Specialty Coffees and Cup Profiles

October, 2013

Added Value

Café de Colombia Offers a Great Variety of Specialty Coffees and Cup Profiles

For its origin, bean size or sustainability, as well as cup profiles, Colombian consumers have at their disposal a rich and varied supply of specialty coffees, including the Premium category.

Because of the highest quality standards in production, Colombian coffee has earned its reputation as the best mild washed coffee in the world.

The quality, reputation and characteristics of the Colombian Arabica are due not only to exceptional geographical conditions, but to a careful and rigorous process of growing, harvesting, wet processing (“beneficio”), classification and control where the human factor is critical.

But aside from the generic characteristics of Colombian coffee, such as softness, clean cup, intense aroma, medium / high acidity and body, did you know that the coffee guild offers a wide variety of specialty coffees, with an equally wide range of cup profiles?

With the arrival of new actors in the Colombian market, it is important that the domestic consumer and the industry as a whole are aware of this wide range of differentiated Colombian coffee.

By definition, a coffee is special when the consumer perceives and values a feature that differentiates it from other coffees, for which he or she is willing to pay a premium that reaches the pocket of the producer.

In the broad portfolio of special coffees offered by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), which promotes long-term relationships between producers and consumers, there are three broad categories: Origin, Preparation and Sustainable Coffees.

Origin Coffees come from a specific region or farm. They are sold to the final consumer without any mixing to preserve their unique cup attributes. These coffees in turn can be regional, exotic or estate coffees. Examples of regional coffees are coffees from Cauca, Nariño, Huila (these three with PDO), Santander and Caldas (and soon Antioquia), each with unique attributes. The one from Huila has intense aroma, medium / high acidity, medium body, citrus notes and a balanced global impression, while the one from Caldas has sweet and herbal notes.

The exotic coffees are grown in specific microclimatic, agro-ecological and socio-cultural conditions, while the estate coffees come from farms producing more than 500 (60-kilo) bags a year and meeting the highest quality standards.


Preparation Coffees obey a specific selection for its form, bean size, related characteristics or meeting specific customer preferences. This category includes Caracol coffees (small shell-shaped beans, grown at high altitudes and with high acidity cup), the supreme coffees (classified by bean size: Europe (held in #15 screen net), Extra Special (#16), Supreme (#17) and Premium (#18)) and select coffees (a balanced blend of several types of coffee resulting in an exceptional cup, because of a careful selection, following a defined protocol).

Finally, Sustainable coffees meet stringent social, environmental and economic standards that ensure the future and welfare of those who produce them, with practices friendly to the environment and biodiversity. Sustainable coffees can be certified with international labels (Rainforest, Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO), Organic, UTZ) and / or verified according to international codes of conduct (Conservation International, Nespresso AAA, Coffee & Farmer Equity (CAFE) Practices, 4C).

The universe of the Federation’s sustainable coffees includes a number of subcategories: ecofriendly (certified through Rainforest Alliance), social content (they contribute to social, cultural, community and solidarity development of producers and improve their quality of life with fair trade practices (FLO)), organic (grown without the use of agrochemicals - fertilizers and pesticides -) and Good inside (with UTZ certification for good agricultural practices and administrative management of the farms).

From these three basic categories and various subcategories, it is not surprising that a specialty coffee can fit into more than one category, such as a Café del Cauca with Rainforest Alliance certification and Extra preparation or a coffee produced on a farm with two or three simultaneous certifications.

In line with the strategy of added value and differentiation by the coffee guild, the Federation’s specialty coffee portfolio has much to offer to the Colombian market, which continues to take pride in having the best mild washed coffee in the world. Through this work the Federation manages to place about one million bags of special coffee a year, generating higher premiums and added value for the Colombian coffee growers.


You are invited to learn more about our coffee family and our products, visiting the COLOMBIAN COFFEE INSIDER sections on the top of this page.