Nestled in the northeastern part of Colombia lies the Norte de Santander coffee-growing region. Pronounced as "nor-tey de san-tan-dare," this area is situated in the Andes mountain range, with an average altitude of 1,200 meters above sea level. The Norte de Santander region is known for producing exceptional quality coffee with unique characteristics, making it a fascinating area to explore for specialty coffee enthusiasts.
The history of coffee cultivation in the Norte de Santander region dates back to the early 19th century. The region's fertile soil, high altitude, and favorable climate have made it an ideal location for coffee farming. Over the years, coffee production in the Norte de Santander region has grown significantly, and it has become an essential part of the local economy and culture. Today, the region is home to numerous small and medium-sized coffee farms that contribute to Colombia's renowned coffee production.
While specific farming and processing methods may vary among the different coffee farms in the Norte de Santander region, there are some common practices that most farmers follow. Generally, coffee in the region is shade-grown, which means that the coffee plants are grown under a canopy of taller trees. This method helps protect the plants from excessive sunlight and maintains a balanced ecosystem that supports biodiversity.
In terms of processing, most coffee farms in Colombia, including those in Norte de Santander, use the wet or washed processing method. This method involves removing the coffee cherry's outer skin and pulp, then fermenting the beans to remove the remaining mucilage. After fermentation, the beans are washed and then sun-dried on patios or raised beds. The washed processing method results in a clean, bright, and consistent flavor profile in the coffee beans.
Coffees from the Norte de Santander region are known for their bright acidity, medium body, and balanced flavor profile. Some common tasting notes include red fruits such as cherry and raspberry, delicate floral notes, and a hint of cocoa or chocolate. The unique combination of altitude, climate, and soil in the region contributes to the distinct flavors found in Norte de Santander coffees, making them highly sought-after by specialty coffee connoisseurs.
In the world of specialty coffee, the Norte de Santander region continues to gain recognition for its high-quality coffee beans and unique flavor profiles. The dedication of local farmers to preserving traditional farming and processing methods, coupled with the region's ideal growing conditions, ensures that Norte de Santander coffees will remain a favorite among coffee lovers for years to come.