Colombia is one of the world's most popular and well-known coffee-growing regions with a long-standing reputation as a producer of consistent, high-quality coffee beans. Colombia is also the second-largest coffee producer after Brazil, exporting around 12 million 60-kilogram bags annually and the most well-known producer of mild coffees.
The country's unique and immensely varied geography created by the Andean mountain range, its tropical climate, and well-drained volcanic soils provide the ideal growing conditions for specialty-grade Arabica coffee. In Colombia, there are 8 major coffee-producing regions: Antioquia, Huila, Nariño, Quindío, Tolima, Cauca, Caldas, and Santander, most of which are located in the central and western parts of the country. There are also several other smaller coffee-producing regions like Sierra Nevada, Valle del Cauca, Boyacá, Risaralda, Magdalena, Caquetá, Meta, and Putumayo. They all produce different, unique coffees thanks to the high variability in growing conditions.
Santander, one of the smaller coffee-producing regions in Colombia, is located in the northeastern part of the country. It is not as well known as other, more popular growing regions like Antioquia, Caldas or Tolima but it is still a significant contributor to the overall economy in the country. The region is characterized by rugged terrain and mountainous landscapes, with elevations ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 meters above sea level. In this region, coffee is typically grown on small family-owned farms using traditional, shade-grown methods. The most popular varietals are Caturra, Bourbon, and Colombia, which are known for their balanced flavour profiles, typically with notes of chocolate, nuttiness, and bright, juicy acidity. Geishas are becoming popular among specialty producers and the country is also increasingly field-testing new specialty varietals and hybrids. The cool, temperate climate of the Santanderian highlands is one of the most important factors contributing to the complex flavour profile of coffee produced in the region. Coffee harvest season in the Santander region typically runs from October to January, with peak harvest in December, so we'll get there just as the cherry-picking gets going.