By now, you've probably already heard about the remarkable flavor and aroma of Colombian coffee. But, you're probably wondering how this South American country manages to produce some of the world's best coffee beans. Well, what if I tell you there's a place you can visit where you can learn everything about the coffee production process, from the moment the seed is planted until it reaches your morning cup? The place I'm talking about is called 'La Recuca', which stands for 'Recorrido de la Cultura Cafetera' or 'Coffee Culture Tour' in English.
La Recuca is a coffee farm located in the Quindío department. The first thing you'll notice when arriving at this coffee farm is the beautiful coffee landscape and green scenery surrounding you.
After having bought your tickets, the staff will receive you with a delicious and freshly prepared cup of coffee that will boost your energy to start the tour.
During your visit you'll be guided by one of the staff members who'll be in charge of explaining the different steps that coffee undergoes from seed to cup. The guided tours are available both in Spanish and English.
On the first part of the tour, you'll learn how coffee seeds are planted; how the cherries are harvested; how the beans are sun-dried by spreading them on drying tables and at last, how the beans are milled in order to remove their dried husks. During this part of the tour, you'll have the opportunity to participate in the harvesting of the cherries. As I mentioned in the 'Ten Things You Didn't Know About Colombian Coffee' article, coffee beans in Colombia are all hand-picked in order to only select the mature red coffee beans. This means you'll need both your hands free to hand-pick all the red cherries on each branch, so after having a basket attached to your waist, you'll be all set to go. Walk through the coffee plantations and get all those red cherries!
After having picked the red cherries, you'll participate in an activity involving costumes and dancing. Men are dressed as 'Arrieros' or 'Muleteers' in English (men in charge of transporting coffee bags using mules) and women as 'Chapoleras' (women in charge of collecting coffee beans).
After having laughed with the dance and costumes, you'll probably be wanting another cup of the delicious Colombian coffee. Good news is you'll be participating in the coffee tasting ritual. It involves sniffing different coffee varieties to find specific aromas; sipping; swirling in the mouth and finally spitting (or not) the sample into a waste cup.
By the end of the tour, you'll receive a small coffee bag as a souvenir, but if you loved the coffee, I'd totally recommend to head to their souvenir shop and buy some more to take back home with you!