6 Colombian Coffees Reviewed: Best and Worst!


As we noted in our article about single origin coffee around the world, Colombian coffee is prized for versatility and its crowd-pleasing notes of chocolate, caramel, berries and spices.  However, as a country that produces a tremendous volume of coffee, it can be hard to pinpoint good beans from this coffee powerhouse. 

The only real way to know is try them all out- we taste tested 6 different Colombian coffees and assessed which coffees were the best and worst of the bunch!

Table of Contents


Overall Scores

 Colombian Coffee Reviews

La Colombe Colombia - San Roque

 La Colombe San Roque review

About the Coffee:

La Colombe’s San Roque consists of the best beans from the coffee producers of the San Roque Association.  Analysts taste the coffee daily, incentivizing the best quality coffee. The coffee is grown on hillsides up from the Magdalena River.

La Colombe San Roque

San Roque factsSan Roque grounds

Review: 

This was the best Colombian Coffee we tried.  The flavor was cherry forward, the chocolate notes more subtle, with a punchy fruity aftertaste that is probably what La Colombe is referring to by listing Clementine notes.  Really an all-around great light roasted Colombian that would probably also blend well with darker roasts.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters – Nariño Borderlands

 Stumptown Narino Borderlands

About the Coffee:

Aleco Chigounis purchased the original Nariño beans in 2007 for Stumptown Coffee Roasters. At the time, there weren’t many American buyers interested in coffee from Nariño’s countryside. But today, a number of third-wave producers – Stumptown included – now serve premium Nariño coffee.

Stumptown Narino Borderlands

Review:

It’s a strong coffee overall, containing notes of citrus and fruit, along with traces of toast, floral, malt, and honey. An earthy underdevelopment note is also apparent. All in all, this coffee is a light, juicy roast with a vicious, medium body, and although it’s a bit on the expensive side, Stumptown's Nariño Borderlands is a very good coffee.

Organic Whole Bean Colombian Coffee from Café Altura

 Cafe Altura review

About the Coffee: 

For more than thirty years, Café Altura has been managed by Chris Shepherd, the company’s founder. Café Altura’s founding principles involve sustainability, quality, care for farmers, and love for the environment we all share. Their business practices and ethics are firmly based on these cornerstones. As their coffee is sourced from family-owned farms, Café Altura’s coffee is gently roasted in order to retain its unique flavors when processed.

Cafe Altura Colombian

Review:

Aside from strong hints of chocolate and fruit, giving it a rich flavor, its complexity is minimal. The acidity is relatively high, but balanced out by a creamy medium body. One of the apparent downsides of Café Altura, however, is the container size; it’s two pounds. Matching the price point with a smaller amount would’ve been ideal. Nevertheless, it’s worth trying out. If you wind up drinking this coffee every day, the size may end up not being a problem for you.

Jim’s Organic Whole Bean Colombian Coffee – Santa Marta Montesierra

 Jims Organic Coffee Review

About the Coffee:

This single origin medium roast coffee from Jim’s is sourced from Red Ecolsierra, an organic producer based in Santa Marta. The coffee farms from Red Ecolsierra are surrounded by picturesque mountainsides in this Colombian region that overlooks the Caribbean Sea. Here, the mountainous terrain dramatically shifts from beach weather to heavy rainfall (which is more than ideal for coffee elevation). The mountain ridges get covered by clouds and capture the incoming precipitation.

Jims Organic Colombian

Review:

This is a medium to dark roast with hints of cherry and dark chocolate. The cherry does taste slightly harsh and even a little burnt in addition to its accompanying wood-like aftertaste. This coffee is a bit bitter with an astringency that varies between moderate and distinct. The body varies between medium and full. Overall, Jim’s coffee is OK, and the price per pound seems reasonable.  Jim's may particularly be worth a try if organic is important to you.

Eight O’ Clock Colombian Peaks

 Eight O'Clock Coffee Review

About the Coffee:

Eight O’ Clock began with a store – the Great Atlantic and Pacific Company which, among numerous other items, sold whole bean coffee in 1859. Their coffee would go on to become the company’s signature product and, by the 1930s, Eight O’ Clock emerged as the top coffee brand in America. During this era, Eight O’ Clock coffee was in 1 of every 4 coffee cups that were consumed!

Nowadays, Eight O'Clock remains a bestseller and mainstay of whole bean coffee in America. As far as volume goes, Eight O’ Clock is the fourth biggest national coffee brand. We aren’t sure where these Colombian beans are sourced from specifically, but its notes are an integration of recognized coffee beans, all of which are 100% Colombian.

Eight O'Clock Colombian

Review:

Traces of fruit with bright, unburnt flavors. The mellow taste is consistent, yet bold with a medium body. However, the papery taste is a bit of a detraction. Overall, Eight O'Clock is probably of similar quality to Jim's Organic (reviewed above).  If organic isn’t an important factor to you, you should give this Colombian coffee a shot first.  Eight O'Clock would rank significantly higher on a measure of value.

 

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf - Colombian Coffee with Organic Whole Beans

 Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Review

About the Coffee:

Herbert Hyman founded The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in the fall of 1963, and he and his wife Mona started the business with the intention of providing coffee services for the workplace. But after their Swedish honeymoon in 1966, the newlyweds discovered what quality coffee is all about. The coffee was so good in Sweden that they made the choice to import and roast gourmet coffee before selling it in LA.

The initial Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf store opened its doors in Brentwood, a neighborhood in Los Angeles, in 1968. Some of the innovative things the store did was revealing the source country of the coffee and offering whole beans for sale. Customers could watch the roasting process and even try out different varieties of coffee before deciding on a particular flavor. On another note, we are unsure of where the company’s organic Colombian coffee is sourced from specifically.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Organic Colombian

Review:

This is a dark-medium roast with a leathery, earthy character. It is slightly harsh to the palate and does have a woody aftertaste. The drink is significantly bitter, as well. We weren’t too pleased with the coffee we sampled, and we think there are more worthwhile alternatives to try before this one (most of which are cheaper, too).


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