Back to Bogotá

We left the coffee country today and made it back to Bogotá, where the whole trip had started a bit less than three weeks ago.

In the afternoon we met up for an orientation walk around the city center. I had already seen most of the attractions on my first day; however with some explanations and background things really resonated much better.

We had our final dinner in a nice restaurant (I went for a combination of typical Colombian starters), followed by another visit to the BBC … so the trip ended, as it had started …

Into Salento

After the tour through the coffee plantation and another hearty lunch we got onto a van, which then got us to the town of Salento – slightly less than 100km / 2 hours away.

We made it into Salento in the late afternoon / early evening, well in time for an orientation walk around this little town with its fairly intact colonial buildings.

With Salento also part of coffee country the walk just had to finish in a little cafe for some more of that black liquid. As avid tea drinker, so far I had pretty-much stayed away from coffee on this trip – however with the gesha specialty coffee available here (which was sold to me as close enough to tea), I simply gave it a try – and ended up actually finishing a cup of coffee and enjoying that.
Gesha is a special variety of the normal Arabica coffee; its origins seem to be a bit of a mystery (at least based on my quick internet research) … anyway – the final drink in the end really is closer to a good cup of Earl or Lady Grey than to normal coffee. I guess, the Grey family teas are really a good comparison here, though there is certainly more complexity in a gesha, every sip opens some new flavors, there are also subtle changes as the drinks cools down (I liked it most in lukewarm state). I certainly would go for this coffee again – however given its specialty status (and resulting price) chances will be slim … this sort of coffee simply is too exotic for most cafes …

More Coffee …

We spent the night in the hacienda’s guesthouse straight in the middle of the coffee fields. This morning we were given a proper introduction to coffee … starting with some background on the plant, looking at its origin, classification etc. – and then the full process from the seeds up to that black liquid in a cup – covering harvest, the options for fermentation (wet process as used in Colombia, the dry process – plus an honorary mention of the special processingused” for kopi luwak), hulling, drying up to roasting.

After a first introduction we ventured out into the fields, to see the actual plants and learn about the work on the farm, i.e. how they keep the plants producing, how long the plants last etc.

The final stop – after a good 2.5 hours into the coffee tour – was at the main house of the hacienda, where we looked into roasting – and got a feeling of the influence of the roasting process towards the characteristics of the coffee.

Overall I have to say … I have been to a number of coffee plantations – but never ever got such a good introduction to the whole process … this really did cover everything – and was nicely presented – I thoroughly enjoyed this activity … though, I now really need a cup of tea 😉

Welcome to Coffee Country

We were on the road again to make our way from Medellin into the Coffee Country around Manizales – a trip of around 200km (our trip was a bit longer, as we had to take a detour due to construction works) and 5 hours.

We arrived at the guesthouse of the Hacienda Venecia coffee plantation in the afternoon, with enough time to spare for a first walk – guided by negro and macchiato, the fittingly names hacienda dogs – around the coffee fields into a side valley. We got back just around sunset in time for a simple, nice and filling dinner.

Medellin Sunset

Coming back from the Peñón de Guatapé, our driver did stop at a viewpoint over Medellin, so we could get to see the sun setting over the city.
Certainly not as spectacular as the one in Santa Marta at the beach – but still great to see … especially the color-changes on the city down below us.