WBC 2011 – Colombia Preview

The streets of Bogota start at 8600 feet, and the bordering mountains reach to even greater heights.

The first installment of our new feature in the magazine “Countdown to Colombia” debuted in the Feb/March issue of Barista Magazine. Countdown will run through the June/July issue and this year’s World Barista Championship in Bogota. As part of the Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia’s (FNC) efforts to promote the event, I was lucky enough to spend a quick three days in Colombia over the last week where I had a preview of the awesome events and activities the FNC has planned for all of the national barista champions when they visit Colombia in June.

We explore a coffee farm outside of Pereira.

I left Bogota with Marcella Jaramillo, the Director of Marketing Communication for the FNC, for a trip to Pereira. We visited the regional FNC extension services office and went with a local extension service coordinator to see a local farmer.

In the central section of Colombia, coffee plants produce two harvests a year, so it's common to see ripe cherries next to new blossoms.

Blossoms on the coffee plant will be cherries ready for harvest in the fall.

After visiting the farm, we went to Cenicafé, the coffee research facility funded by the FNC. The FNC is composed of all the coffee farmers in Colombia (more than 500,000 people), and works to promote coffee, provide a stable price, educate farmers, support local communities, and more.

I will not be hired to work this season as I have no skillz.

The following day, I had a quick tour of the model coffee farm, Agrado, in Quindio Region. Best practices are instituted at the farm and demonstrated for local farmers. One of the new initiatives on display at Algrado are the raised drying beds which are far more efficient than the traditional concrete patio.

Raised drying beds are a new development in Colombia.

Back in Bogota, we had a tour of the competition site, and the FNC arranged a press conference for local and national media outlets with members of WBC board and SCAA about the WBC and had this year’s barista champions of Japan and Colombia on hand to give a demonstration of a barista competition.

This arch spans the entrance to the competition space.
A Colombian reporter interviews Mikki Suzuki, barista champion of Japan.

In June, all of the national barista champions will  be invited to visit these farms and research centers before the competition. In addition, they’ll get to do some fun things that I didn’t have a chance to, like visit the Coffee Theme Park! It’s going to be Bogotawesome!

The barista champions of Colombia and Japan show off their gifts of BMags and sweet Vessel Drinkware ceramic travel mugs.
About Ken 263 Articles
Kenneth R. Olson (he/him) is co-founder and publisher of Barista Magazine the worldwide trade magazine for the professional coffee community. He has written extensively about specialty coffee, traveled near and far for stories, activities, and fun, and been invited to present on topics important to coffee culture. He is also an avid fan of the Portland Trail Blazers, the Washington Huskies, and public libraries.