One of the things that Colombia is most famous for is coffee. When we went to the coffee region, we went to a coffee farm to learn about coffee (there’s a lot of coffee in this post already!!). The man there even spoke English and so he said if we wanted we could have our tour in English and we did. Before the tour we had some drinks and we were looking at the amazing view. It looked so bright green because we had not seen anything green for months because there is no rain in Santa Marta.
On the hill you can see small coffee plants growing and in between them there are some rows of tall plantain trees which the workers pick for extra money because coffee isn’t a very well paid job, and the plantain also gives the coffee plants shade to make them grow a lot taller.
On our tour, we went into a forest of coffee trees and our guide showed us that first the tree makes a flower, and then the flower falls off and a small berry starts to grow. It’s green at first and then it gets bigger and finally turns yellow and then red. He said that you could only pick them when they are red and that even if they fall on the ground you still have to pick it up in case an insect comes and lays eggs. He also said that there were some trees that only ever got yellow ones and that when they were yellow they were still ripe.
The coffee grows all year round and you have to pick it every time there are lots of ripe berries. That happens every few weeks and the day we went we saw some people who lived nearby who had come to pick the coffee for their job.
Next he took us into a little house-like coffee factory. Upstairs there was a metal bowl with lots of coffee beens in and there were some floating but most were at the bottom. He said that even if they were red if they were floating they were not good so he threw them away. The ones that sink were washed and put out for sorting.
The next part of the sorting happens in a giant metal tray with no water in but with tons of coffee beans. At first there was a man there sorting them out but then he left and our guide said we could have a go so we did. We took out beans that were unripe or damaged and we quite enjoyed it.
After they had been sorted they were put in machine to peel their skin off. Inside the red case are two pale coffee beans. When you first peel the skin off there is a kind of slime on the coffee beans so they are left in water until the slime washes off. Then they put the beans in a warm room in little trays to dry.
When it has dried it still has a very rough cream coloured case around the beans inside. They use another machine to get the case off and you finally see the coffee bean inside and we were surprised that it was kind of grey-green. Last of all they roast it and it turns brown like the coffee that we are used to seeing. It smelled really nice when it had just been roasted so we wanted to try it. We all had some coffee and me and Oren didn’t like it but my mum and dad did. So now we know the story of a coffee bean and you do too.
Before I finish this post, we think we should probably say now that we’re not really ‘EverettsinColombia’ any more because we’ve been back in the UK for almost a week! But we’re still writing the blog because we haven’t finished telling you about all the amazing things we did in our last few weeks in Colombia. Please keep reading because our final post is going to be something special. If you really don’t want to miss it, sign up for updates by putting your email address into our blog!