Colombia Coffee Industry Report: Insights from Ricardo’s Recent Trip and Future Projections

Our MD, Ricardo, recently took a trip to Colombia to meet with some of our partners out there.

We’ve put together a full report of the current situation in Colombia and a summary below. If you’d like to read more, please contact us for the full report (including more on the political, economic and weather situations.)

There are approximately 839,000 hectares of coffee plantations all over Colombia ( ≈ 550,000 coffee plantations). The average size remains around 1.5 hectares. Only 1% of Colombian coffee farms are over 10 hectares and these farms produce approx. 7% of the total production. The average national yield is about 20 bags/hectare due to selective harvesting techniques, where up to 25 individual rounds of picking are common.

Coffee production continues to be perceived as a fundamental part of the Colombian economy, generating millions of jobs all over the country.

Our estimation of this year’s crop is between just 11.2 and 11.5 million bags, which is a recent low. Local consensus is that the Mitaca crop will be between 5.0 and 5.4 million bags this year, approx. 43-45% of the total crop, whereas 10 years ago it was estimated at 33%. The main crop is anticipated to start a little early during August, overlapping the end of the Mitica crop, and is expected to last until February. This trend of almost all-year-round harvesting will continue in the foreseeable future as the two main harvests become more similar in size.

Recent market difficulties, especially in the aftermath the COVID world pandemic, have led to a greater concentration of market share among the largest exporters in the country, with the smaller exporters preferring to concentrate on the more profitable specialty qualities.

With new plantations expected to enter production over the next couple of years, the estimation is for a return to around 14 million bags production by 2025. Most of these new plantations are located in the Southern area of the coffee belt (around Huila). These areas have higher altitude and can produce some very high-quality coffee, ideal for the specialty market. There is an ongoing emphasis on quality improvement all over the country, with new varieties (like Geisha Amarillo and Bourbon Rosado) being combined with improved husbandry techniques.

Pictures are of wonderfully green Colombian farms, raised drying beds and beautiful Colombian weather!