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Published 6 November 2019

The Colombian Third Wave Story

Third Wave sounds rather revolutionary but it’s simply an upgrade.  It’s an upgrade in Provenance. You know, all that food labelling that is practically meaningless.  At least with wine labelling we see a leading effort and it makes wine drinking more fun and interesting.  So, because the Colombian’s are drinking coffee they are driving their coffee provenance, it is getting pretty good, they can tell you about where the coffee came from, it’s farmers, it’s coffee region and the rest.  Whilst before it was sold more simply.

How did this happen? Simply, the Colombians woke up one morning and started drinking specialty coffee and then came all of these Colombian coffee roasters.  These roasters wake up to not only the smell of coffee from their roaster but their farmers, there’s 500,000 of them. ………….

Coffee roasters in Colombia like Azahar who we visited,  time journeying out into the vast Colombian coffee regions and terroirs, on these weekend warrior style of coffee adventures, hunting the best farmers out, sharing knowledge, sharing time and creating a bit of a new and better thing in the places where they live. The coffee farmer’s life in Colombia must be abysmal if you are a tenant farmer.  But the freehold farms have the benefit of land tenure, firm family units with generations of coffee knowledge and increasingly, these families are highly educated and motivated, they drive coffee forward into the future. What is this future?

In probability the next steps forward will be firstly, improvements in Colombia’s coffee provenance and Colombians will start moving along the supply chain, to distribution in the retail sectors of their foreign markets.  Colombian and Brazilian coffee families have already established their own green bean distribution channels in foreign markets, certainly Australia and the USA. A pioneering extension thereon is inevitable because Colombia has a competitive advantage, terroir. 

In October 2018 a bottle of 1945 Domaine de la Romanee-Contin became the most expensive bottle of wine in history at AUD$ 805,000 beating an 1869 Chateau Lafite.  Romnee-Conti is a 1.81 hectare farm, ln a limestone area and the farm evidently looks as if it is inhabited by French Bogans. Whatever made this bottle of wine so expensive, it probably as a lot to do with terroir.  Probably makes the farm worth a lot of money too.

Terroir has undoubtedly something to do with geography, i.e. our wine terroirs.  As Australian’s we are attached to these regions but on scale, Colombia as compared to Australia, has a bucket load of ancient, fertile and diverse terroir. From the Amazon jungles, through forests and plains and then up a lot of the Andes, Colombia has a lot of fertile and differing geology.  As wine starts now to be identified with geology that is the underlying bed of mineralogy, volcanic, schist, blue slate, gneiss will start to become part of the labelling and provenance of Colombian coffees.

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