Picking Coffee in Colombia’s Zona Cafetara

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It’s an open secret that Colombian coffee is one of the finest, most aromatic coffees in the whole world. As an ardent fan and lover of both coffee and Colombia, i went to discover the roots, leaves and beans of my first love.

I’ve been stationed in the heart of the ‘Zona Cafetara‘ or Coffee Region of Colombia in Pereira for the past month, so visiting a picturesque coffee plantation was as easy as hopping on a local bus to Marsella for COP 2,500 one way (Rs. 75 / $1.20).  A friend of Alex had recommended us to visit ‘Finca Villa Maria‘, so we reached there at about 10:30 am on an idyllic Monday – a holiday in Colombia since it was the festival of San Jose.

We learned a ton of great facts about the coffee making process, including…

  • The typical life of a coffee plant is 15 years – the bark is cut every 5 years to help it regrow fruit.
  • The first fruit  take up to 2 years, so there’s a gestation period as in any other business.
  • A seasoned coffee bean picker can pick 300 kgs. of beans every day, earning 500 pesos (Rs.15 / $0.20) per kilo.
  • Organically grown and processed coffee tastes better than machine processed coffee (duh!)

Including a homely meal made with love, this coffee trip cost each of us COP 20,000 (Rs.600 / $10).


Exotic Gringo (Kaushal Karkhanis)

Leading an experimental life as a digital nomad, I started traveling in 2007 while choosing to shuttle between Goa and Mumbai as 'home'. An epic life-changing trip to South America an year later gave birth to this blog, Exotic Gringo.