NATURAL, 24 hours controlled fermentation (cherries), 20 days sun dry
The earliest sources of information about coffee in Colombia date back to 1723; the first plants were likely introduced by the Jesuits from Antilles via Venezuela. Cultivation began in 1732 in the northern region of Orinoco and subsequently in the southern regions starting at the Seminary of Popayan in Cauca. Commercial cultivation only took place towards the end of the 18th century in the departments of Santander and Boyaca and later in the hills near Medellin. Coffee underwent a significant surge of growth in the country in the second half of the 1800s following independence from Spain and in light of favourable price conditions. Annual production is estimated to have gone from 1000 to 100,000 bags in the span of thirty years. Later, the modernization of the railway gave a further boost to production, particularly in the central departments of Caldas and Antioquia. In 1930, annual production exceeded 3 million bags – 10% of the world´s exports. Such a sudden growth led farmers to organize themselves, leading to the creation of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (Fedecafé), a body formally in the hands of producers but one which acts in effect as a government agency. Its main task is to export but its remit extends to market regulations, the creation of infrastructure, schools and the scientific sphere. Meanwhile the National Coffee Research Centre (CENICAFE), an organization which works alongside producers, resulting in the creation – in the 80s – of a Colombian variety particularly resistant to rust. Colombia is nowadays the leading producer of washed Arabica and the third worldwide following Brazil and Vietnam.