Coffee Supply Chain Nightmare

The price of coffee has gone up a bit on the NYMEX due a predicted shortfall in Brazil’s coffee crop. But, the price that you pay for coffee is going up even more due to a coffee supply chain nightmare that is affecting global shipping or all goods. Bloomberg writes about freight snags driving shipping rates to astronomical levels. Coffee inventories in the USA are down and going lower as a global shipping container shortage has affected virtually all shipments of food and beverages.

Coffee Stockpiles in USA at a Six-Year Low

Coffee wholesalers in the USA are selling their reserve inventory. As the global supply chain disruption continues there is little hope for an early replenishment of coffee supplies. As the law of supply and demand asserts itself, US wholesale and resale prices are rising in excess of what would have been caused by the drought and reduced coffee crop in Brazil, the biggest producer and exporter. Meanwhile, demand for coffee has gone back up which, in turn, has served to drive prices higher.

Demonstrations Tie Up Coffee Shipping from Colombian Ports

Colombia dealt with the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic by ordering a virtual shutdown of society. To make sure that people did not starve to death the government delivered food door to door in the barrios. The combination of spending by the government and reduced tax income because of businesses shutting down has hurt Colombia’s credit rating and driven the peso to all-time lows. In an attempt to get back to a positive fiscal balance the government promoted measures like reducing the already-low monthly minimum wage and putting taxes on foodstuffs like rice and beans. The result was months of street demonstrations and blockage of major highways both of which slowed commerce to a virtual halt. The demonstrations spread to the two major ports of Cartagena on the Caribbean and Buenaventura on the Pacific. Thus, Colombia has shipping issues in excess of the shortage of shipping containers and global supply chain slowdown.

Coffee Supply Chain Nightmare

Coffee Shipping Costs

The cost of the cup of coffee you drink at breakfast or pick up from your favorite coffee shop on the way to work is driven by the cost of the green coffee beans at the source, shipping costs to the roaster, roasting and roaster profit, and retailer or coffee shop markup. Inflation is asserting itself as the economy comes out of the Covid recession so prices are up across the board. But, right now, the biggest uptick in prices is coming from the cost of shipping your coffee from anywhere in the coffee belt to warehouses in the USA, Europe, Japan, and everywhere else where coffee is consumed. At this moment the movement of shipping containers across the world has hit numerous bottlenecks and that has made timely shipping or shipping at all impossible form some locations. While there are around six million shipping containers in transit across the world at any given time, there are not enough in the right places and at the right times to keep prices down and keep the coffee supply chain from the current nightmare.

Coffee shipping costs have doubled and tripled in some instances. At Buy Organic Coffee we continue to provide coffee direct from Colombia albeit at a higher cost, not because the coffee farmer charges more but because of supply chain problems.


Best Coffee for the Best Price

For the best coffee flavor and aroma you best choice is Arabica coffee, whole bean, and freshly ground. Robusta gives you more caffeine but does not have the taste of a good Arabica from Colombia. Fresh is always better too. Green coffee retains its freshness for up to three years. Whole bean coffee retains its freshness for up to six months. And, ground coffee starts to lose its freshness, flavor, and aroma as soon as it is exposed to the air. Once you have these issues covered, coffee of higher quality is better than lower quality but generally costs more. With this thought in mind, what is the best coffee for the best price and how much flavor improvement do you get for each dollar spent.

The Most Expensive Coffee in the USA

A few years ago we looked at expensive coffees including Gesha coffee from Panama. People who are interested in Third Wave coffees where they know precisely where and under which conditions the coffee is grown are happy to pay more for the experience. However, at an auction shortly before we wrote the article, a bag of Gesha coffee from Panama sold for $350 a pound. If you are buying this coffee in your local coffee shop you will not be paying $350 for a cup of coffee but may be paying $30 instead of $5 for a great cup of coffee. However, if you buy coffee directly from Colombia through Buy Organic Coffee you can pay a few dollars for a bag of whole bean roasted coffee that could easily sell for $50 in a coffee shop in the USA.

Coffee Direct from Colombia
Coffee from Colombia

How Much a Pound Do You Want to Pay for the Best Coffee?

Putting aside from the snob value of drinking an expensive cup of coffee, what is a great cup of coffee worth? The success of Starbucks and other coffee shops proves that people are willing to pay more for a good cup of coffee. The fact that Starbucks can only charge so much for their fanciest latte also shows that there is always a limit to how much their customers are willing to pay for higher quality coffee. In one of our articles about coffee from Colombia we offered to buy Colombian “store bought” Arabica coffee and have it mailed to you directly from the heart of the coffee growing region. For $30 for the coffee and $30 for shipping you can get four bags of high quality Arabica coffee for $15 each whereas you could buy coffee of similar quality for a large multiple of this price like $30, $45, or $60. If you put coffee quality on one axis of a graph and price per pound on the other it will not generate a straight line. Coffee that is twice as expensive is may be twice as good on the low end of graph but at the high (Panama Gesha) end of the graph the improvement in quality per dollar is minuscule! Our suggestion is that you consider coffee directly from Colombia if you want the best coffee for the best price.

Coffee Pests and Diseases

There are diseases and pests that can infest a coffee crop and ruin it. Knowing how to prevent or treat these problems is essential for a coffee farmer to avoid financial ruin. The greatest damage to coffee crops comes from pathogenic fungi followed by bacteria or viruses. Some coffee diseases only take hold in weakened fields of coffee and others attack healthy coffee plants. Coffee leaf rust, root rot disease, and coffee berry disease are among those coffee pests and diseases that take hold in otherwise healthy coffee crops.

Factors That Influence Susceptibility to Coffee Plant Diseases

A major factor that influences coffee plant susceptibility to leaf rust is genetics, the coffee variety. We have written about how many Arabica coffee varieties are susceptible to leaf rust while Robusta is not. Coffee farmers in the Colombian department of Huila use a cross between red and yellow bourbon coffee called pink bourbon which is not only a great tasting coffee but more resistant to coffee leaf rust. The Colombian Coffee Growers Association has developed strains over the years to preserve the high quality of Colombian Arabica coffees while reducing the damage done by coffee leaf rust.

Pink Bourbon Coffee Finca La Paula

Environmental Factors That Affect Coffee Plant Diseases

Historically, Arabica coffees are grown at higher altitudes because the heat and humidity of the lower altitudes in the tropics are conducive to infestations by the coffee borer beetle as well as fungal infestations like leaf rust. A long term concern is that as temperatures rise Arabica strains will need to be planted at higher and higher altitudes until reduced area under cultivation reduces Arabica production and raises prices for even the most standard Arabica crops.

Coffee Crop Management

Sustainable agricultural practices are essential to help keep coffee crops healthy. Cleaning up decaying plant matter at the base of coffee plants helps reduce the likelihood of fungal infestations as well as insect problems. Proper application of the right fertilizers is important as well. Prompt removal of infected plants helps farmers stay ahead of spreading plant diseases and this practice occasionally requires removal of and burning of whole sections of a coffee farm.

Economics of Plant Protection

Poor coffee farmers are more likely to be devastated by coffee plant diseases as they cannot afford to pay for the help to deal with problems, buy pesticides when necessary, or fertilize as needed to maintain healthy plants. Their crops may suffer from chronic infestations and perpetuate successive waves of plant diseases for years on end. With more than 900 types of birds, mammals, mollusks, and parasites to worry about on top of viral, bacterial, and fungal diseases the tasks can be overwhelming.

The Most Common Coffee Pests

Insect infestations kill coffee plants, make them prone to secondary infections for fungi and reduce the value of the surviving crop. A prime concern of coffee farmers is the Coffee Berry Borer. This pest is a little black beetle that burrows into the coffee cherry where it is protected from pesticides. The pest causes cherries to fall from the plant and surviving berries are too small and of poor quality.

The Coffee Leaf Miner is a kind of moth. They eat coffee plant leaves. When enough leaves are killed the plant cannot photosynthesize and grow. Berries do not mature and yield is drastically reduced. And, when diseased beans make into the cupping stage they taste bitter.

Mealybugs

Mealybugs feed on many different plants where they attack roots, flowers, nodes, and leaves. They feed on the sap of the coffee plant and in turn secrete a sticky sweet material that attracts ants. A black mold then covers the plant cutting off photosynthesis. Many coffee plants die and the ones that survive produce bitter coffee.

These are just a few of the pests that attack coffee and make the coffee grower’s life a chore.

Coffee Pests and Diseases – Slideshare Version

Coffee Pests and Diseases – PDF

Best Ways to Clean a Coffee Maker

There are many ways to make coffee. A simple pot for pour over coffee as well as an Ibrik for Turkish coffee, a ceramic pot for café de olla, a large pot on the stove for egg coffee, a French press, or a percolator for making commercial quantities. The best coffee beans make the best coffee and the best coffee deserves a clean coffee maker. Here are the best ways to clean a coffee maker so that your just ground, whole bean coffee from Colombia is always the best possible.

When Should You Clean Your Coffee Maker?

Don’t wait until your coffee is getting bitter to clean your coffee maker. You can see when your coffee maker is getting mineral buildup and accumulation of oily sludge in the coffee pot and maker. However, germ buildup happens before you see any evidence of a problem. National Sanitation Foundation International, which helps set food safety standards in more than 170 countries says that your coffee maker is the fifth worst reservoir of germs in your entire home. Half of all coffee makers tested by them had mold, yeast, and bacteria buildup. So, a routine schedule of cleaning is a good idea rather than waiting for the bitter taste or signs of mold growth!

Best Ways to Clean a Coffee Maker - Mineral Buildup Results
Coffee Maker in Need of Cleaning

How to Clean Your Coffee Maker

Simple coffee making gear can get by with simple cleaning. But, home coffee makers, Keurig coffee makers, and large restaurant percolators need a bit more attention.

What You Need to Clean a Coffee Maker

To do a good job cleaning your coffee maker you need water, white vinegar, and a coffee filter.

First Step:

Fill the reservoir of your filter with half water and half white vinegar. Go heavy on the vinegar if you have obvious signs of mineral buildup. The vinegar not only kills germs but also dissolves minerals.

Step Two:

Put a filter in the basket and turn the coffee maker on just like you would to make coffee. Let it “brew” for about half the usual time and then turn the coffee maker off to let the vinegar solution soak in the reservoir and carafe. Let it sit for half an hour to an hour. And, let it sit longer with more vinegar if there is a lot of obvious buildup.

Third Step

Turn the coffee maker on again and run the rest of the cycle. Discard the vinegar and the filter paper. Then fill the reservoir with fresh water, add a filter to the basket and run another brewing cycle. Discard the water and the filter and repeat the process. After the second “water cycle” use a clean cloth to wipe down the coffee maker and pot.

How to Clean Your Keurig Coffee Maker

A Keurig coffee maker may appear more formidable when it comes to cleaning but the process is the similar with water, white vinegar, a toothbrush and liquid dish detergent.

First Step

Clean the exterior of the coffee maker with a damp cloth and detergent if needed. Put the drip tray, cover, and reservoir lid in the dishwasher or let them soak for fifteen minutes in the sink with hot water and a teaspoon of dish detergent. Dry with a towel when done.

Second Step

While the parts that you can remove are soaking or in the dishwasher, use a clean toothbrush to clean up any coffee grounds that are stuck in the K-Cup holder. Remove any mineral or oily buildup with a damp cloth. Then give the exterior one more wiping down with a damp cloth and all-purpose cleaner.

For stubborn mineral buildup soak a corner of your cloth with white vinegar and scrub, soak for a few minutes, and scrub again. You should be able to watch the mineral buildup disappear. Dry everything with a soft cloth and put the coffee maker back together.

Step Three

Make sure there are no pods in the coffee maker. Then put a large mug in the tray and fill the reservoir half and half with fresh water and white vinegar. Use the setting for the largest cup and run the cycle as many times as it takes for the More/Add Water light to come on. Dump the vinegar water from the mug after each cycle.

Fourth Step

Now leave the remaining liquid in the reservoir for thirty minutes. Then empty the reservoir and rinse multiple times with fresh water until any odor of vinegar is long gone.

Fifth Step

Now, just like with the standard coffee maker, run the coffee maker with just water in it. Fill the reservoir with water, use a large mug, make your “water coffee” and throw out the water until the reservoir is empty.

Best Ways to Clean a Coffee Maker – Slideshare Version

Best Ways to Clean a Coffee Maker – PDF

Uses of Robusta Coffee Beans

The two main commercial types of coffee are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is better-tasting coffee which Colombian coffee growers produce. Robusta has a higher caffeine content, adds a “kick” to Italian espresso, and is the main source of caffeine in soft drinks sold worldwide. The world’s biggest producer and exporter of Arabica is Colombia followed by Brazil. Brazil and Vietnam are the biggest exporters of Robusta coffee beans.

Robusta Coffee Beans

The scientific name for Robusta is Coffea Robusta or Coffea Canephora. Robusta is a very hardy coffee plant, much less susceptible to coffee leaf rust and the various insect infestations to which coffee is prone such as the coffee borer beetle. Robusta is cheaper to cultivate, grows to a larger size (up to 30 feet high), produces more coffee beans, and produces beans sooner than the Arabica plant. Whereas Arabica comes originally from Ethiopia, Robusta comes from the central and western sub-Sahara regions of Africa. While Arabica coffee beans have about 1.5% caffeine, Robusta beans have about 2.7%.

About a third of world coffee production is Robusta with most coming from Africa and throughout the Indian Ocean. In the Americas Brazil is the main Robusta producer. Vietnam is the most recent large producer and has moved up to rival Brazil in Robusta production.

Robusta in Your Cola Drink, Instant, and Espresso

The one niche where you can find Robusta in fine coffees is in Italian espresso where a quantity of Robusta is mixed with Arabica to give the espresso more caffeine.  And, you can find Robusta in coffees like Death Wish. Although much of the caffeine in soft drinks is synthetic, some also comes from Robusta beans.

The bulk of robusta coffee goes into making instant coffee, commercially packaged espressos, and as filler in average grade blends of ground coffees. Throughout Southeast Asia it is more likely to find yourself drinking Robusta than Arabica coffee.

Uses of Robusta Coffee Beans - Robusta Coffee Tree

Will We Drink More Robusta in the Future?

We recently wrote about climate change and coffee production. The main problem for growing Arabica coffee in a hotter climate is that more heat means more coffee diseases. Because Robusta is a hardier plant we can expect to see it replace Arabica to some degree over the years. We also expect to see attempts at cross breeding to keep the flavor and aroma of Arabica while gaining the strength and endurance of Robusta. An added benefit of growing Robusta is the greater production per plant than what is seen with high quality Arabica varieties. Robusta produces coffee beans earlier, produces more per plant, and very commonly produces coffee beans for more years than Arabica.

Does that mean we will eventually only be drinking poor quality but higher caffeine content coffee? That will probably not be the case. Organizations like the research arm of the Colombian coffee growers will keep working on Arabica strains that are increasingly disease resistant while retaining the flavor and aroma of the Arabica we love. It may even turn out that future Arabica cross breeds will have a higher caffeine content and be more productive.

Uses of Robusta Coffee Beans – Slideshare Version

Uses of Robusta Coffee Beans – PDF

Coffee Prices Over the Years

The New York Times just published an article saying that your daily coffee habit is about to get more expensive. They note the fact that climate issues in Brazil and export problems due to civil unrest in Colombia, the two biggest exporters of Arabica coffee, have conspired to drive coffee futures up. And, if you check CME Group coffee futures, you can see that September 2021 coffee futures are $1.84 a pound while December 2022 futures are $1.93 a pound. Coffee prices over the years go up and down. Is this any different?

Coffee Prices Go Up and Down

Macro Trends published a chart of coffee price variations from September of 1973 through July of 2021. As the chart shows, coffee prices go up and down over the years with $3.23 a pound in 1977 and $2.88 a pound in April of 2011 being the highest price spikes over that time period. During that same period coffee fell to $.0.51 a pound in August of 1992 and $0.45 a pound in November of 2001.

Coffee Prices Over the Years
Coffee Prices Over the Years Since 1973


Coffee traders are looking at higher coffee prices in the coming months and years as shown by CME Group coffee futures.

Coffee Prices Over the Years - CME Futures
CME Coffee Futures

How Much Do You Pay for Colombian Coffee?

In Colombia coffee farmers are paid based on the CME price for dried green coffee beans that they present to their local cooperative. Price adjustments are made (downward) for any imperfections and a premium is paid for Arabica coffee grown in the Colombian coffee growing district running from Caldas down to Huila and West to Antioquia. At Buy Organic Coffee in Manizales we purchase coffee from local growers, cooperatives, and small local coffee processors and roasters. The price that we pay is free from middle-man expenses and is for fresh coffee from the most recent harvest. Because we purchase at the source in Colombia and arrange shipping directly to you in the USA or anywhere in the world, our prices for high quality Arabica coffee from Colombia typically beans prices paid for coffee of equal quality anywhere in the world.

How High Will the Price of Coffee Go?

CME Group coffee futures for the end of 2022 are going for just under $2 a pound and that price lasts into futures for July of 2023. Baring other unforeseen events, we are not looking at matching or surpassing the peak prices seen in the last fifty years, at least not in the near term. Looking longer down the line you need to consider climate change and coffee production. It is likely in the decades to come, that higher quality coffee (Arabica) will be scarcer and more expensive. The prevailing weather patterns across the North and West of South America are such that droughts and forest fires seen elsewhere are unlikely. More rain simply runs down the mountain sides where coffee is planted so crops are not drowned out. Flooding in low areas such as the Cauca River Valley around Cali affects crops like sugar cane and pineapple but not coffee.

Over the next decades we expect Arabica coffee prices denominated in US dollars to double or triple depending on any devaluation of the dollar.

Coffee Prices Over the Years – Slideshare Version

Coffee Prices Over the Years – PDF

Climate Change and Coffee Production

As climate change raises temperatures across the globe, production of high-quality Arabica coffee will suffer. Arabica coffee already needs to be grown at higher and higher altitudes in order to avoid leaf rust. As temperatures climb, farmers need to plant more leaf rust resistant coffee strains. Some of these, like Caturra, are high quality Arabica coffee while others like high-caffeine Robusta give you leaf rust resistant coffee with little taste. Climate change and coffee production concerns have brought to mind so-called forgotten coffee plants that grow well in warmer climates like Stenophylla, a West African wild coffee strain which is currently not economically viable due to low yield and small berries.

Loss of Productive Farmland for Growing Coffee

Coffee industry sources predict that by 2050 half of the farmland currently being used to produce high-quality Arabica coffee will no longer be suitable for growing these coffees. First of all, lower altitudes will get hotter and increase the risk of leaf rust infestations. Next, higher temperatures are not the only thing that happens with climate change. Excessive rain and droughts can destroy crops as more heat pumps more energy into the atmosphere. This will make it impossible in some areas to predict whether coffee planted in an area will be able to produce a harvest five to fifteen years later. Thus, we may be drinking drought-resistant coffees, lots of leaf rust resistant Robusta, and, hopefully, newer Arabica varieties that are tolerant of heat and infestations.

Taming Wild Coffee Varieties

Coffee grows wild in Ethiopia and other parts of East and even West Africa. The reason that Arabica and Robusta are the dominant commercial strains is that coffee farmers can make a living by planting these crops and getting a sufficient harvest, at a high enough price to make a business of it. Stenophylla is a wild coffee strain that grows wild in Sierra Leone. It tastes great and is tolerant of heat and leaf rust. Unfortunately for coffee farmers it produces small berries and coffee beans and not very many. As such, Stenophylla is not a commercially viable coffee at this time. This strain of coffee will need to be crossbred just like Arabica was crossbred with a leaf rust resistant strain from Timor to produce the leaf rust resistant strains that saved the Colombian coffee industry. If history is any guide, this will take ten, twenty, or thirty years. If such a project works out, we could be drinking coffee derived from this wild strain that can stand temperatures as much as six degrees Celsius higher than Arabica can tolerate.

Climate Change and Coffee Production - Stenophylla Coffee
Stenophylla Coffee Beans

Where Will Arabica Coffee Grow?

Arabica is the preferred coffee worldwide due to its taste and aroma. It grows in mountainous regions and today accounts for sixty percent of all coffee production. In the Colombian coffee growing region in the Andes, Arabica coffee is already grown at five to seven thousand feet and there is room to grow higher in the mountains should temperatures continue to rise. Lower altitudes like three to five thousand feet will be used for leaf rust resistant strains and probably more Robusta. The use of higher altitudes will give coffee producers a couple of decades grace but eventually either new strains will need to be produced to tolerate increased temperatures or there will simply be less Arabica coffee available at increasingly higher prices.

Climate Change and Coffee Production – Slideshare Version

Climate Change and Coffee Production – PDF

How Does Drinking Coffee Prevent Type II Diabetes?

We have known for many years that there is a relationship between drinking coffee and a reduction in the incidence of type II diabetes. In general, drinking coffee up to about six cups a day increasingly reduces your likelihood of getting this disease. However, all of the original studies were based on health questionnaires answered by large populations of men and women. There were no prospective studies in which people were assigned to levels of coffee intake and followed for years. And, there were no studies that helped us answer the question, how does drinking coffee prevent type II diabetes. A recent study provides more answers.

How Does Coffee Lower Type 2 Diabetes?

In a March 2021 issue of Nutrients the authors note that prospective epidemiological studies have repeatedly shown a relationship between steady coffee consumption and lower incidences of type 2 diabetes. Because this relationship holds up in studies of young, old, smokers, non-smokers, both sexes, and various regions of the world there appears to be a true cause-effect relationship.

How Does Drinking Coffee Prevent Type II Diabetes

Caffeine and Sugar Levels

Studies have not shown any consistent short term or long term effects on blood sugar levels or on the incidence of type 2 diabetes. In other words, non-coffee caffeine drinks do not have the effect of coffee on reducing the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Phytochemicals in Coffee Improve Blood Sugar Regulation

Phytochemicals are the antioxidant-rich constituents found in many nuts, fruits, vegetables, chocolate, and coffee. These chemicals have been shown to reduce oxidative reactions and thus deter various disease processes. Phytochemicals upregulate synthesis of enzymes responsible for cell repair and defense. In the case of phytochemicals in coffee, they preserve beta cell mass by improving function of mitochondria, reducing endoplasmic reticulum stress, and both preventing and disposing of amylin. The authors believe that the consequent long term preservation of beta cell function coupled with maintenance of good liver function is how routine coffee consumption reduces the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Does Putting Sugar in Your Coffee Make a Difference in Getting Type II Diabetes?

One of the arguments made against drinking coffee with the hope of reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes has been that by adding sugar to your coffee you are negating whatever beneficial effects the coffee may have. The problem with this argument is that none of the population-based reviews considered whether sugar was added or not. Drinking coffee always had the effect of less type 2 diabetes. Secondly, none of the studies show any indication that short term effects of drinking coffee on blood sugar are related to the long term effect of less type 2 diabetes. Rather, the antioxidants in coffee seem to have a preventive and repair effect on both functions of the liver and pancreas (beta cells) which seems to be responsible for the long term benefit of drinking coffee on your likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes.

Do Other Caffeine Drinks Reduce the Incidence of Diabetes?

No, they do not. The benefit of coffee consumption in reducing the incidence of type 2 diabetes comes from the antioxidants in coffee, not the caffeine.

What Coffee Is Best for Preventing Diabetes?

Because the antioxidants in phytochemicals are what seem to help prevent type 2 diabetes, coffee beans with more active phytochemicals ought to be better for you than beans with less. Although antioxidants in coffee last a long time they do not last forever, thus relatively fresh, high quality Arabica coffee should be better for the purpose of preventing diabetes than lower-grade coffee of uncertain age. Your best source for excellent, fresh Arabica coffee is coffee from Colombia. For great Colombian coffee sent directly to you contact us at admin@buyorganiccoffee.org.

How Does Drinking Coffee Prevent Type II Diabetes? – Slideshare Version

How Does Drinking Coffee Prevent Type II Diabetes? – PDF

Colombian Coffee Facts

When you are looking for reliably great Arabica coffee the best choice, bar none, is coffee from Colombia. While there are many places in the world that grow and export great coffee Colombia grows great Arabica coffee across a wider region in the Western Andes than any other growing region in the world. The coffee culture, volcanic soil, and perfect coffee-growing climate all contribute to reliably excellent coffee region after region, farm after farm, bag after bag and cup after cup.

Coffee from Colombia

When you purchase coffee in a store in the USA, Great Britain, anywhere in Europe, Australia, or Japan it is easy check to see that the coffee is from Colombia. Just look for Juan Valdez! Juan Valdez is a fictional character used by the Colombian Coffee Growers’ Federation to guarantee that a bag of coffee is 100% Colombian. By the way, within Colombia Juan Valdez is also a brand of coffee and a string of excellent coffee shops featuring coffees from the various regions of the coffee growing district, the Eje Cafetero.
If you are interested in checking out Colombian coffee shipped directly from Colombia, contact us at Buy Organic Coffee via email, admin@buyorganiccoffee.org.

Organic Coffee from Colombia

The gold standard for organic coffee certification is the US Department of Agriculture. You can get USDA certified coffee from Colombia as well as organic coffee certified by the likes of the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ. UTZ promotes good agricultural practices and environmental protection as well as safe and healthy working conditions plus the abolishment of child labor. In addition they help growers promote their products. Rainforest Alliance Certification is part of a broader sustainable agriculture program that includes coffee, bananas, cocoa, oranges, cut flowers, ferns, and tea. Like UTZ, Rainforest Alliance helps growers promote their products.

Not All Organic Coffee from Colombia is Certified

A practical issue for Colombian coffee farmers is the cost of becoming certified and maintaining certification as an organic coffee producer. The coffee farmer pays to have someone come in and verify that they do not use chemicals, have measures to separate organic from non-organic coffee, and follow all of the sustainable agricultural practices that go with organic coffee farming. If they cannot get a higher price for their product by being certified many coffee farmers forego certification even though they follow all of the right steps. At Buy Organic Coffee we deal with many coffee farmers who are organic in everything but name.

Where Is Coffee Grown in Colombia?

Although coffee is grown in every part of Colombia the vast majority of coffee production comes from the departments of Caldas, Antioquia, Risaralda, Tolima, and Huila. These jurisdictions are all in the Western Andes ranging from 3,000 feet to 8,000 (or higher) in altitude. The region is bounded on the East by a string of more than two dozen volcanos of which about half are currently active.

Colombian Coffee Facts - Northern Part of Volcanic Front

Northern Part of Colombian Volcanic Front

Number 19 on the map is Nevado del Ruiz, 15,500 feet and still active. The peak is visible from Manizales.

Fresh Coffee from Colombia Nevado del Ruiz

Nevado del Ruiz Volcano Visible from Downtown Manizales, Colombia

Because coffee does best between three and seven thousand feet in the topics in regions with lots of rain and lots of cloud cover the departments of Caldas, Antioquia, Risaralda, Quindio, Tolima, Huila, and the Eastern elevations of the Valle de Cauca Colombia

Colombian Coffee Facts – PDF

Colombian Coffee Facts – Slideshare Version

Colombian Organic Coffee Brands

Colombian coffee is widely acclaimed to some of the best coffee in the world. But what about Colombian organic coffee brands and Colombian coffee brands for standard Colombian Arabica coffee? Any coffee grown in Colombia qualifies for Juan Valdez designation, meaning that the Colombian Coffee Growers Association certifies it as 100% Colombian. Coffee from Colombia is good and healthy organic coffee from Colombia is excellent. Think of some of the best organic coffee in the world and think of Juan Valdez, certified and Colombian, organic coffee from the Colombian Cafetero.

Juan Valdez Colombian Coffee

The Juan Valdez trade name came from the Colombian Coffee Growers Association more than half a century ago. It is meant to give the buyer assurance that the coffee they purchase is 100% Colombian. Although there is a popular Juan Valdez coffee house chain in Colombia the name Juan Valdez is simply meant to guarantee 100% Colombian content. Within Colombia Juan Valdez only has to do with the coffee house chain as regular Arabica and organic coffee in Colombia is grown in Colombia.

Colombian Organic Coffee Brands and Retail Prices in Colombia
Brand

Retail/Pesos

Retail Quantity

Retail in Dollars

Café Quindio Organico

24,300

340 grams

$6.75

Juan Valdez Gourmet Selection

20,300

282 grams

$5.64

Mesa de Los Santos

40,000

454 grams

$11.11

Oma Export Coffee Organic

20,100

250 grams

$5.58

This table lists Colombian organic coffee brands available in the Colombian Cafetero. Prices are retail in Colombian Pesos and the US dollar equivalents are based on the late 2021 exchange rate of around 3,600 Colombian Pesos to the US dollar. Purchasing Juan Valdez organic coffee, that is to say Colombian organic coffee brands, is easy in Colombia and is easy if it has been exported from Colombia. However, getting Colombian organic coffee brands sent from Colombia can be difficult unless you have help from someone who is already in Colombia.

Obtaining Colombian Organic Coffee Brands from Colombia

Two things have made it easier to get coffee from Colombia. The more-than-half-century civil war is largely over. And three years ago the government made it easier for small producers to export their coffee. In our recent article about getting fresh coffee from Colombia we offered to send local coffee brands purchased retail in Colombia to the USA via normal mail. The limit is 2 kg before you need an export license to do this.

If you are visiting Colombia and want to bring coffee back with you, that is still possible. Thus, if you are going to fly out of Manizales, Pereira, Medellin, Cali, or Bogotá expect to have your bags searched for drugs as a large drug-sniffing police dog sits by. The officer will pin prick any bags of coffee that you are carrying and test with a mechanical “sniffer” if not the large pooch at his side. If you decide that you would like to forego this experience and mail your coffee back home you will have to abide by the 2 kg per shipment rule.

Many Colombian Organic Coffee Brands are grown in the shadow of the tallest volcano in Colombia.

Nevado del Huila – Tallest Volcano in Colombia

Colombian Organic Coffee Brands – PDF

Colombian Organic Coffee Brands – Slideshare Version