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Published 22 October 2019

Colombia's Coffee Culture

The coffee culture in Bogota is notably divided.  On one side there are the graffiti purveyors, they are an impoverished majority.  They also have toothless stares, they have a notable need for detergent powder and they also want your cash. They are non-latte drinkers and their wares are sold by small carts from flasks.  On arriving in Bogota and seeing these vendors, I thought they were selling pour over coffee and asked the taxi driver to stop at one. But it's instant coffee that they vend.

On the many street corners the coffee carts with the unemployed, the malfigured and desperados gather.  No matter how marvelous your charisma consumers around the coffee carts won't like you and you can easily spend US$10 for the cup of instant to get on your way, as fast as possible.  

Go to the other side of town, there are latte drinkers with kilos of dosh and rampant style and South American chic. The moneyed Bogatanos love wining and dining and they do it well.  They like to portray their individualism, for boys and girls they have their babes and they themselves are babes.

In between, say around the university there are espresso bars, the machinery is not flash but there are a lot of them and everyone is selling the best coffee. With all these wonderful coffees we must ask what do they taste like?  Colombian's roast their coffee light, so the bulk of the coffee is served with a biting acidity.  Pour overs seemed surprisingly in vogue. Espresso's too are light roasted, generally a single origin and of course, with any milk beverage the flavour is lost.  But as in Asia, the consumer shows a remarkably and surprising preference towards this style of coffee beverage. Still, it is served with enthusiasm, knowledge and style. But, I for one, consider these coffees might be better showcased as a darker roast.

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