Looking for the best Colombian coffee? If you are looking for a quick answer our top picks are Volcanico Supremo, Juan Valdez Sierra Nevada and Java Planet. But, there is a lot more to learn and explore about Colombian coffee.
Colombia is the third largest producer of coffee in the world. The success of their coffee industry is due to mainly two factors. First, their privileged location and climate that is ideal for the coffee plant to thrive. And, the great work that the Colombian government has done to develop and promote their coffee industry.
We will talk a bit more about the Colombian coffee industry. But, first, we know you are looking for the best Colombian coffee. We have put together a list of our 10 favorite Colombian coffee beans. It was hard to pick an absolute winner because everyone is going to have a different favorite coffee. Instead we have picked our 3 favorites. These 3 coffees have different flavor profiles that may appeal to different audiences.
Top 10 Best Colombian Coffee beans
To help you find a coffee which flavor profile you will enjoy, we have listed the coffees in our list from the lightest (Cubico) to the most intense one (Juan Valdez Sierra Nevada).
1. Cubico Coffee Freshly Roasted Colombian Coffee
Flavor profile: Lemon and lime, maple sugar, sweet and nutty notes
Cubico sources its Colombian coffee exclusively from the Nariño region. This brand works with Colombian farmers who are part of the “Million Pesos” program. This is a Colombian program that pays double to farmers that produce the highest quality coffee.
This coffee is a medium roast with intense lemon and lime flavor, maple-brown sugar, and sweet and nutty notes.
This is one of the lighter Colombian coffees that we tried. We used a Chemex to brew it and It tasted amazing. We would recommend this coffee to anyone who likes light to medium roast coffees with a more citric profile.
2. Koffee Kult Colombia Coffee Beans Huila Region
Flavor profile: Smooth, Cinnamon, Bright Long Finish
Koffee Kult is a Florida based company committed to offering only the top 2% specialty coffee beans from around the globe.
Their Colombian coffee contains single origin beans from the region of Huila. Coffee beans from this region can make a very complex and fruit forward cup of coffee.
The Koffee Kult Colombian Huila coffee is a medium roast described as smooth and bright with flavor notes of cinnamon.
To be honest, this coffee was not our favorite in the list because it was almost too light for our liking. But again that fully depends on personal preference. If you like a more medium to light roast, you may enjoy this Koffee Kult coffee.
3. Panther Mejor Colombia Specialty Coffee
Region: Popayan, Cauca
Flavor profile: Sweet cherry, citrus and milk chocolate
Panther Coffee is a brand that is focused on sourcing and roasting the best coffee beans in the world. They pride themselves on their long lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with coffee producers around the world.
The Panther Mejor coffee beans are from the Castillo variety and are grown in Popayan in the department of Cauca. Coffee made with Castillo coffee beans is usually bright, clean and balanced.
The Panther Mejor is a dark roast coffee with silky texture and notes of cherry, citrus and milk chocolate. Particularly fruity for a Castillo.
‘Mejor’ literally means ‘best’ in Spanish, so that is enough reason to give Panther Mejor a try.
4. Volcanica Supremo Colombian Coffee
Region: Bucaramanga, Santander
Flavor profile: Bittersweet, Chocolate, Caramel, and Hints of Orange
Volcanica is a specialty coffee roaster brand located in Atlanta. They specialize in offering coffee beans that grow in different volcanic regions around the world.
The Volcanica Supremo Colombian Coffee uses beans grown in volcanic ash in the Bucaramanga region in Colombia. Coffee from Bucaramanga usually leans more towards round and sweet rather than juicy and complex.
The Volcanica Supremo Colombian coffee is a medium roast coffee with a smooth body and medium acidity. It has a smooth body with medium acidity. The flavor profile can be described as bittersweet with hints of chocolate, caramel and orange. This coffee is also Fairtrade certified.
We found that this coffee has more of a medium dark flavor. If you mostly drink dark roast coffee but want to try something different, maybe give this one a try. We are biased towards darker roasts but really enjoyed the Volcanico Supremo. However, if you like a true medium roast toast, you may find this coffee to be to intense.
5. Juan Valdez Gourmet Selection
Region: Multiple regions in the center of Colombia
Flavor profile: Balanced fresh notes that evoke a walk in the forest
Juan Valdez is the most renowned brand of Colombian coffee. What makes this brand unique and special is that it was created by the National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC). This organization represents and protects the interests of the many coffee farmers in Colombia.
This Juan Valdez Organic Medium Roast is their gourmet selection. These coffee beans come from the center of Colombia where coffee tends to be more balanced in body and acidity. This coffee is balanced with medium acidity and fresh notes.
6. Java Planet Colombian Single Origin
Roast: Medium Dark
Region: Multiple regions in Colombia
Flavor profile: Chocolate and caramel
Java planet is committed to offering great tasting coffee using processes that safeguard workers’ rights and protect the environment. Their Colombian coffee is both certified Organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified.
The Java Planet Colombian coffee is a medium dark roast with full body and mild acidity.
Our Colombia Organic is a medium dark roast with full body, mild acidity and big balanced flavor.
This coffee is a good middle point between the full body flavor and roastiness of a dark roast and the complex bright flavors of a light roast. But the best part about this coffee is how low the acidity is. This coffee is very gentle on sensitive stomachs.
If you are looking for a Colombian coffee with low acidity and great flavor, you need to get the Java Planet.
7. Peet’s Ground Coffee Colombia
Roast: Medium Dark
Flavor profile: Bright, ripe cherry, toasted nuts
To finish this list we wanted to include a ground coffee option. We do not want to leave out those who prefer the convenience of buying ground coffee.
Peet’s coffee makes our favorite Colombian ground coffee. This coffee comes from the region of Huila that is known for producing complex and fruit forward coffee beans. Coffee from this region is usually offered in a medium roast to maintain the brightness and the fruity notes. However, Peet’s actually uses a dark roast for this Colombian coffee.
We found the flavor profile very interesting. The coffee definitely has the characteristic nutty notes of a dark roast but it is still bright with some hints of cherry.
8. Fresh Roasted Coffee Dark Colombian Supremo
Region: Multiple Regions
Flavor profile: Honey and cherry
This brand prides itself on their sustainable sourcing and their environmentally friendly roasting process. Fresh Roasted Coffee is certified Direct Trade, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, and USDA Organic.
This Fresh Roasted Colombian Coffee is an affordable option. It offers a cup of coffee with well-balanced body and acidity levels. These coffee beans are dark roast with honey and cherry tasting notes.
We used this coffee to make some espresso and found it to be a true dark roast. Very bold and roasty. If you are a fan of dark roasts, definitely give this one a try.
9. Cooper’s Cask Colombian Dark Roast Coffee
Region: Multiple regions in Colombia
Flavor profile: Rustic sweetness, a hint of cocoa and dark fruit notes
Cooper’s Cask offers single origin coffee beans that have achieved the highest taste scores.
Their Colombian Dark Roast Coffee can be described as aromatic with hints of cocoa and dark fruit notes.
We particularly enjoyed how low the acidity of this coffee was. The cup of coffee we made was very balanced and rather sweet.
We should also mention that this company offers a full refund within 30 days of purchase in case you do not like the coffee.
10. Juan Valdez Sierra Nevada Dark Roast Coffee
Region: Sierra Nevada
Flavor profile: Intense notes of hazelnut and residual notes of dark chocolate
You cannot say you have tried Colombian coffee until you have tried Juan Valdez. Of course, we needed to include a second Juan Valdez coffee in our list.
The brand offers multiple types of Colombian coffee. We have included in our list this Juan Valdez dark roast coffee from the Sierra Nevada region. Coffee beans from this region are some of the strongest you will find. However, it is not very common to find coffee from this part of Colombia probably because it is particularly challenging to cultivate. The coffee plant literally grows in the Andean mountains.
This coffee is bold, low acidity, and with intense notes of hazelnut and more subtle notes of dark chocolate.
We would recommend this Juan Valdez coffee if you enjoy a very bold and intense cup of coffee. If you prefer a brighter and more complex cup, this may not be what you are looking for.
The History of Coffee in Colombia
Historians say the Jesuits brought and started cultivating the coffee plant in Colombia around 1730. From there, it spread slowly as a commercial crop to different regions of the country. Almost a century later, in the early 18th century, Colombia executed their first commercial export of coffee beans. By 1912, coffee already made up about 50% of Colombia’s total exports.
In 1972, the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia was created to protect the interests of coffee farmers. Since then, Colombia has made coffee production and exports a priority and the country has become the third largest coffee producer in the world.
Colombian Coffee Today
Colombia is the world’s third largest coffee producer. The coffee industry is a big part of the Colombian economy. The National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC) has for sure played a very important role in the success of the coffee industry in Colombia. This organization provides coffee producers with the necessary tools to store, process and export coffee. Coffee farmers also get a guarantee of purchase. There is no other system like this in the world.
Growing Coffee in Colombia
While we cannot deny the amazing job that the FNC does, Colombia also owes their success to their very privileged location. Colombia produces mainly Arabica coffee which is considered the superior coffee bean. Arabica coffee more easily grows in the region between the Tropic of Capricorn and Tropic of Cancer, where Colombia happens to be located. That combined with the wet climate and the high elevation make Colombia an ideal place to grow Arabica coffee.
Colombian Coffee Production
Colombia produces an average of 11.5 million bags of coffee every year. This country is the world’s largest coffee producer behind Brazil and Vietnam. But, Colombia is still the number one exporter of Arabica coffee beans.
It is estimated that over 600,000 coffee farmers participate in the Colombian coffee industry. Most of them own small plantations located in different rural areas. Thanks to the coffee system in Colombia, all these coffee growers have the opportunity to bring their crops to market.
Grading Of Colombian Coffee
Colombia created the grades ‘Supremo’ and ‘Excelso’ to classify and market their beans. These grades are related to the size of the coffee which is not necessarily linked to quality. The biggest coffee beans are graded as Supremo. Excelso beans are slightly smaller than the Supremo beans.
Unfortunately, this grading system makes it harder to maintain traceability. A bag of Excelso beans contains beans from multiple farms. Similarly, beans that come from the same farm or even the same coffee tree can get different gradings if they are different sizes.
Colombian Coffee Culture
In Colombia, coffee is much more than just a drink people consume for an energy boost. Coffee is an essential part of Colombia’s economy and culture. And, overall, coffee is a social drink.
As people do in the rest of the world, Colombians also start their day with a cup of coffee. But, they also drink coffee when meeting with friends and family. Coffee is the social drink of choice. Going to someone’s house or office? You will probably be offered a cup of coffee.
Colombian coffee beans are specially suited for a dark roast. Historically, Colombia has exported dark roast coffee beans but now you can find Colombian coffee in a variety of roasts.
If you are wondering what roast to choose, this is going to depend on your brewing method and your personal preference.
Generally speaking, dark roasts tend to be better for espresso while light and medium roast are preferred for pour-over methods. However, you should also consider the flavor and texture profile that you like in your coffee. A light roast is a good option if you want a cup of coffee that is bright, clean but with higher acidity. A dark roast is going to be richer and have a more toasty taste. Some people may find dark roasts too bitter.
Colombia has many growing regions that produce a variety of coffee beans. Whatever your flavor profile preference is, you will find a Colombian coffee that you enjoy. Coffee beans that were grown in the same region tend to have common traits. If you really like some coffee beans from a particular region in Colombia, take note. You may find that you enjoy other coffees from the same region as well.
Colombian coffees can have a huge range of flavors. You have the heavier ones with predominant chocolate notes. And on the other end of the spectrum, you have the brighter and more fruit forward coffee beans.
The flavor profile is going to depend on the roast level and the origin. Generally speaking, the lighter roasts will have more of the origin flavor profile. The darker roasts still maintain some of the original flavor profile but notes of chocolate, nuts, and caramel, that come from the roasting process, will be more present.
In terms of origin, coffee beans that grow at lower altitudes tend to be round and sweet. Some popular low altitude coffee growing regions are Santander and Sierra Nevada.
On the other hand, coffee beans from higher altitude regions tend to be more juicy and complex. Some popular high altitude coffee growing regions are Cauca, Huila and Nariño.
How can you tell the flavor profile of a coffee before trying it?
Look for keywords in the packaging. If you prefer lighter coffees with fruity acidity, look for fresh fruit names such as berries or apples or descriptions such as bright and juicy. If you want something with even more acidity, look for citrus fruits in the description.
If you prefer a cup of coffee with low acidity and more on the bitter side, look for nutty and chocolate notes.
The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FNC) protects the interests of coffee growers nationally and internationally. When you are buying Colombian coffee, you know that you are buying from a market that cares about the quality of life of the farmers.
If you also care about environmental ethics, many companies follow roasting processes that are friendly for the environment. Some of them are Rainforest Alliance Certified which means they follow the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental.
You can always read more about the brand to make sure their ethics align with yours. But, we have also included a brand profile summary under each coffee review.
It is not easy to tell you what the best Colombian coffee is. This is going to depend on your personal preference. Everybody enjoys a different flavor profile in their coffee.
We are biased towards darker roasts so we have chosen Juan Valdez Sierra Nevada as the best Colombian coffee. However, we also had to choose our favorite medium roast one. This is the Volcanica Supremo.
Our last pick is the Java Planet. This low acidity coffee is ideal for people looking for a very low acidity coffee.