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 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

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,

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


Retail Quantity

Retail in Dollars

Café Quindio Organico


340 grams


Juan Valdez Gourmet Selection


282 grams


Mesa de Los Santos


454 grams


Oma Export Coffee Organic


250 grams


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

Gene Café CBR 1200

I love freshly roasted coffee and decided to give home roasting a try. To save money I went the popcorn popper route. My results were not especially good (as in really bad). But the clincher was when the coffee caught fire in the popper. So, I decided to get a real home coffee roaster with a decent capacity. I ended up looking at the new Gene Café CBR 1200. Here is what I found out.

What You Should Consider before Buying the Gene Café CBR 1200

When you first roast coffee at home it can be fun, even if the Arabica coffee directly from Colombia does not turn out that well. But, the newness of coffee roasting will wear off. And then you will want to have a roaster that is easy to operate, simple to maintain, and one that does a great job roasting coffee.

Home coffee roasters are for home use. Sounds a little simple but the point is that you are probably not a coffee house employee. You do not have experience roasting coffee every work day for years. You need a home coffee roaster that you as a novice can use to make good roasted coffee!

Home coffee roasters use a fair amount of electricity and, like the Gene Café CBR 1200, many require a 220 volt electric outlet. So, you may need to call the electrician before you can plug in your new coffee roaster!

You can roast a batch of coffee with the new Gene Café roaster in half an hour. Then add time for the beans to cool. This roaster is easy to operate but you do have to periodically clean and maintain it or there will be problems like smoke and fire! You may end up paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for a home coffee roaster. Make sure that your love of freshly roasted coffee is such that you are willing to take the time to do the roasting.

The Gene Cafe CBR 1200 small batch coffee roaster provides an even and reliable roast with automatic roasting.

Gene Cafe CBR 1200

Gene Café CBR 1200

The Gene Cafe CBR 1200/1 kg is a great small batch coffee roaster for either home or commercial use. Gene Cafe has been making a smaller model for several years. The increase in roast size up to a kilogram makes this coffee roaster a better choice for small volume commercial use than its older brother.

The CBR 1200 uses an innovative off-axis rotation method combined with hot forced air heating. It will very evenly roast up to two pounds of green coffee beans in half an hour. A hopper is used for adding green coffee beans to the preheated roasting chamber. And roasted coffee beans are automatically released into a cooling chamber beneath the roaster. This model also has a manual override feature.

I really like the clear Pyrex roasting chamber which lets me see the coffee as it roasts. And I like its quiet operation. This makes it easier to hear the first crack and when I want a darker roast, the second crack. It has an easy to empty and easy to clean chaff collector as well.


  • Off axis rotation of roasting chamber for very even roasting
  • Pyrex roasting chamber for easy viewing of coffee while it roasts
  • Automatic roasting once time and temperature are set
  • Automatic release of roasted coffee to cooling chamber


  • Chaff collector needs to be routinely emptied or starts to emit smoke
  • English instructions poorly written by Korean manufacturer
  • Must be placed close to an outside wall in order to vent excess heat

Features & Benefits

I think that this coffee roaster is nicely designed for use both by a pro and by a beginner. Like with any new appliance, you should read the directions. And you should consider the first couple of roasting sessions to be practice runs. Here are my thoughts on the various features of the CBR 1200.

Feeding Beans from the Hopper to the Roasting Chamber

This roaster has a hopper for feeding green coffee beans into the pre-heated roasting chamber. To me it seemed a little complicated at first but it is a nice feature.

  • After pre-heating the roasting chamber, open the safety cover and rotate the hopper down over opening.
  • Then you need to press the red control knob until you see the word “insert.”
  • Set the time and roasting temperature.
  • Then press the red knob like you would a button until you see the word “insert.”
  • Now is when you rotate the little switch to the right in order to insert the beans.

The Gene Cafe CBR 1200 has a hopper for feeding beans into the roasting chamber. Turn the lever to the right to feed the beans.

Gene Cafe CBR 1200 Hopper and Hopper Lever

Finally, lift up the hopper and rotate in back in place over the roaster housing. Close the safety cover. With the time and temperature set, press the red button again until you hear a beep and roasting starts.

Once you have done this a time or two it will be easy even though at first there seem to be a lot of steps!

Pyrex Heating Chamber

The heat resistant Pyrex glass for the heating chamber is a useful feature. You get to see the beans roasting, which is always fun. But, more to the point, seeing the process helps you get the exact roast that you want. I like it.

Remember that this chamber gets very hot. Always have oven mitts available when you touch or handle the roasting chamber.

Three Dimensional Off Axis Mixing

There is nothing you have to do about this innovative feature. It is just how the roaster chamber rotates and tilts to constantly mix the beans to guarantee an even roast every time.

Automatic and Manual for both Roasting and Cooling

For a person who is new to the world of home roasting, the automatic features of the Gene Café CBR 1200 are a good idea. The roaster can be completely automatic or you can override either roasting or cooling or both. What I think works the best is to learn the settings you need for the roast that you want. Then only override when you think there is a problem. But, if you are totally new to the world of home roasting, automatic will give you a decent roast as your learn the ropes.

When you find exactly the right time and temperature for the roast you want, you simply repeat the process. The CBR 1200 remembers the time and temperature of the last roast. A better idea is to write down the times and temperatures you have used for various roasts.

Chaff Collector

The roaster removes chaff as it roasts but the chaff can accumulate in the collector and start to smoke or even catch fire. Empty and clean the chaff collector every five batches. This is not a big deal but could become a problem if you neglect it! There is a reason that the safety instructions that come with the roaster state that you should have a fire extinguisher available next to the roaster!

Cyclone Duct

Coffee roasters generate a lot of heat and this one is no different. If you are set up in a small space you will need to exhaust the hot air using the cyclone duct. Unfortunately the cyclone duct is rather short. You should not add an extension because chaff will build up in a long duct. So, you need to put this roaster right next to an outside wall to vent the heat.

The Cyclone Duct carries heat and smoke away from the Gene Cafe CBR 1200 Coffee Roaster

Gene Cafe CBR 1200 Cyclone Duct

For me this is a real downside for a home coffee roaster. Making holes in the walls of your home to exhaust the heat seems a little excessive.

The other issue in this regard is the power supply.

Korean power outlets are 220 volts and that is what the CBR 1200 needs. Having to call the electrician to rewire your kitchen is another strike against this roaster.

What Others Are Saying about the CBR 1200

The thing we see repeated in the coffee forums is that people are shocked at the price of the Gene Café CBR 1200 and give it big “thumbs down.”

From Dave in Great Britain:

There is something that just doesn’t add up. A 1kg machine costs 4,000 pounds?
The same machine but a smaller version that roasts 250-300 grams or 1/4 kg, cost 329 pounds. So buying four of these machines for 1300 pounds will give you a 1kg yield and you’re still ahead of about 2700 quid.
Does the Gene Cafe company take people for idiots?

Bean & Gone says:

I’ve been looking for a bigger roaster and liked the look of this as I already have a gene café, but the prices that I have been given as an estimate are just short of £4000. Not sure how accurate that is but it’s the same or similar to the toper cafemino 1Kg roaster.

So, What Are Some Alternatives to the Gene Café CBR 1200

This is a decent coffee roaster. It may be a bit much for home use but certainly would function well in a small coffee shop. But, this coffee roaster costs nearly $6,000 plus tax!
What other roasters can you get for that price? And, more to the point, what similar roasters are out there for a better price?

BEHMOR 1600 Plus: $369

This is a standard drum roaster as opposed to the off axis setup with the CBR 1200. It can roast up to a pound per batch which is half the CBR 1200 capacity. It is similar to the CBR 1200 in that it features pre-programmed roast profiles or can be totally manual. It has technology to suppress smoke without the need to vent to the outside. Unlike the CBR 1200 this is strictly a home coffee roaster without much use in a commercial setting.

But, the biggest difference is that the Behmor 1600 Plus is substantially easier on the pocketbook at $369 versus $6,000.

  • Roasting Capacity: CRB 1200-2 pounds, Behmor 1600 Plus-1 pound
  • Programmable or Manual Operation: Both roasters can go either way
  • Dealing with Smoke: CBR 1200 needs to vent through an outside wall, Behmor 1600 Plus has internal smoke suppression technology
  • Home Versus Commercial Use: CBR 1200-both home and commercial, Behmor 1600 Plus-strictly a home coffee roaster
  • Price: Huge difference with CRB 1200=$6,000 and Behmor 1600 Plus=$369

Take a look here if you are interested in checking out the Behmor 1600 Plus.

QUEST M3: $1,400

This coffee roaster is a miniature of a standard coffee shop roaster. It is meant for sample roasting with a maximum roast capacity of 200 grams (0.44 pound) as opposed to two pounds for the Gene Café CBR 1200. Unlike the CBR 1200, it is a completely manual machine with no advanced electronics and no programmed settings. And, unlike the CBR 1200, if you are going to roast several batches you leave it turned on as repeatedly heating up and cooling off is hard on the roaster. The Quest M3 is more suited for a professional than for someone who wants to start roasting at home. But, it costs about $4,600 less than the CBR 1200.

  • Roasting Capacity: CRB 1200-2 pounds, Quest M3-0.4 pound
  • Programmable or Manual Operation: CBR 1200 is both while Quest M3 is manual only
  • Chaff Collector: Both roasters have one and both need to routinely cleaned to prevent a fire
  • Home Versus Commercial Use: CBR 1200-both home and commercial, Quest M3-roast size is suitable for home use or for sample roasts in a commercial setting
  • Price: Big price difference with CRB 1200=$6,000 and Quest M3=$1,400

If you want to check out the Quest M3, take a look at it on the Coffee Shrub website.


This roaster is similar to the Gene Café CBR 1200 in that it is computer controlled so you can set up and repeat favorite roasting profiles. Its capacity is smaller than the CBR 1200 as it will roast at most 2/3 pound at a time. It also has a built-in smoke suppression system unlike the CBR 1200 which needs to vent to the outside or be located in a very open space.  And, like the CBR 1200, the HOTTOP has a window so you can watch your coffee as it roasts. If price is the main issue, this roaster sells for $4,900 less than the CBR 1200.

  • Roasting Capacity: CRB 1200-2 pounds, HOTTOP KN-8828B DIGITAL-2/3 pound
  • Programmable or Manual Operation: Both roasters function both ways
  • Smoke Suppression: The HOTTOP KN-8828B DIGITAL has an internal smoke suppression system and the CBR 1200 does not
  • Home Versus Commercial Use: CBR 1200-both home and commercial, HOTTOP KN-8828B DIGITAL is a home roaster
  • Price: Substantial difference with CRB 1200=$6,000 and HOTTOP KN-8828B DIGITAL =$1,100

Take a look at the HOTTOP KN-8828B DIGITAL on

For Small Commercial Roasting

If you are considering the Gene Café CRB 1200 for commercial use, consider also the Artisan 3-e. This commercial coffee roaster has a 3 pound maximum roast size compared to 2 pounds for the CBR. It is a fluid bed coffee roaster unlike the off axis drum roaster in a CBR 1200. Like the Gene Café CBR 1200 it has an attachment for exhausting heat and smoke. But, you need to buy your exhaust blower separately for the Artisan 3-e. And, the Artisan 3-e is much less expensive than the CBR 1200 at $3,300 versus $6,000.

  • Roasting Capacity: CRB 1200-2 pounds, Artisan 3-e=3 pounds
  • Roasting technology: CBR 1200-off axis rotating Pyrex chamber, Artisan 3-e fluid bed roaster
  • Exhausting heat and smoke: Both roasters require that you exhaust to an outside wall but with the Artisan 3-e you need to buy your blower separately
  • Home Versus Commercial Use: CBR 1200-both home and commercial, Artisan 3-e is a high capacity commercial roaster capable of roasting 18 pounds an hour
  • Price: Big difference with CRB 1200=$6,000 and Artisan 3-e =$3,350

If you would like to know more about this roaster, take a look at it on the Coffee Crafters website.


If you want to roast coffee at home and would like an automated system, the Gene Café CBR 1200 can do the job. It is relatively easy to set up, use and maintain. And, with the automatic settings you can set up profiles to reliably get the roast you like every time. This roaster needs to go in a large open area or be vented to the outside. And, it requires a 220 volt outlet.

The big drawback to this coffee roaster is the price. You can get a roaster with comparable features for thousands of dollars less.

Nevertheless, if you would like to learn more, visit the Gene Café website for more  for more information.

Gene Cafe CBR 1200 – Slideshare Version

Gene Café CBR 1200 – PDF

Single Origin Coffee from Colombia

Colombia is the world’s largest producer and exporter of high-quality Arabica coffee in the world. Coffee from Colombia finds its way into virtually every country. But, what if you are interested in single origin coffee from Colombia? There are growers throughout the departments of Caldas, Tolima, Risaralda, Quindío, and Huila who grow specific coffee varieties. These unique high-quality coffees are sometimes certified as organic coffee and almost all of them are organic in fact even when not certified. If you need single origin coffee from Colombia, contact Buy Organic Coffee by sending an email to

What Is Single Origin Coffee?

Single origin means that all of the coffee beans that went into your cup of coffee came from the same place. Sometimes “single origin” means it all came from the same country or region within a country. If you buy coffee with Juan Valdez on the label it is 100% Colombian coffee and is “single origin” from Colombia. And, you can buy coffee from Tolima, Huila, or the historic heart of the Colombian coffee-growing region, Caldas.

By narrowing down the region you are more likely find to coffee that is all grown in a similar climate, type of soil, and with similar coffee-growing methods. The gold standard for single origin coffee is coffee that is all from the same coffee farm or, from the same local coffee cooperative that services a small sub-region.

Many times the coffee farms that provide single origin coffee can only provide a ton or two of their excellent coffee but the coop can help multiply that supply by providing coffee from several farms with similar growing conditions and the same coffee varieties. For example, the pink bourbon coffee that we supply comes from Huila which is the only region in Colombia where this variety can be found in any quantity.

Finding Single Origin Coffee

There are two issues when you want to find single origin coffee. One is that not all coffee farmers can provide unique coffee varieties. Much of the coffee in Colombia, for example, is a mix of Arabica varieties and comes to the standard of “usual good quality” or UGQ. It is probably excelso which means a larger bean size and higher, export quality. You may need to go to the region in question to talk to the local coffee cooperatives or individual coffee farmers to find out what varieties they grow and how carefully they preserve their unique coffee varieties.

What Is Pink Bourbon Coffee - Nevado del Huila
Nevado del Huila – Tallest Volcano in Colombia

And, in many regions of the tropics around the globe finding great single source coffee involves going to the individual countries and trekking throughout the mountains to find coffee farmers. In our case, Buy Organic Coffee has a presence in Manizales, Colombia and the closest coffee cooperatives are in the city and within twenty to thirty miles of our shop. We also know coffee growers and processors throughout the coffee growing region of Colombia and routinely deal with growers as far away as the southern reaches of the Department of Huila in the shade of the tallest volcano in Colombia, Nevado del Huila (17,500 feet) as opposed to Caldas where the tallest, still-active volcano, Nevado del Ruiz, is only 15,500 feet tall.

Single Origin Coffee from Colombia - Nevado del Ruiz
Nevado del Ruiz – Tallest Volcano if Department of Caldas, Colombia

Why Is the Origin of Coffee Important?

Bean origin matters. The type of soil (usually volcanic), climate (high mountain, lots of rain and overcast), production and process methods handed down through families for generations, and the unique varieties all give you unique flavor, aroma, and aftertaste. If you are interested in true artisanal coffee and especially wholesale artisanal coffee from Colombia, contact us at Buy Organic Coffee by sending an email to As we commonly mention, there are lots of great coffees in the world. The advantage of coffee from Colombia is that you get a lot more great Arabica coffee from this region than from anywhere else. And, if you are interested in single origin coffee, we can find a source for you right from the historic heart of the Colombian coffee growing region, Caldas, or from anywhere else in the coffee growing axis (Eje Cafetero).

Pink Bourbon Coffee Finca La Paula
Pink Bourbon Coffee, Finca La Paula, Huila, Colombia

Single Origin Coffee from Colombia – PDF