Minca is distinctly different due to its chillier location up in the mountains (650m), it boasts a few sights. First up are plenty of outdoor options such as trekking and mountain biking. Secondly, waterfalls and rivers to refresh yourself in. Thirdly, and my personal favorite, the Victoria coffee plantation. The guided tour (COP10,000) gives you some really good insights into the art of making coffee in Colombia – the 3rd largest coffee producer in the world (I didn’t know that Vietnam is no2).
There are two type of beans – arabica and robusta. Arabica is consumed by 70% of the world (think french/colombian coffee) while robust 30% (think Italian coffee). In Colombia, only Arabica is produced. Arabica stands-out due to its mild & aromatic taste while robusta tends to be more bitter-tasting yet with 50% more caffeine. Arabica also fits much better into colombia as it is grown at higher =altitube (1,000m to 2,500m) while robusta at 0-700m. Climate change has seen Colombian coffee production decrease both due to higher temperature (they used to start growing Arabica at 500m, needs 700m = less space and can’t move higher due to water protection legislation) & change precipitation.
- Picking: After about 8-9 month of ripening the coffee fruit (known as cherries) changes colour from green to red indicting it time for harvesting. In Colombia there can be two harvesting seasons each year. Picking in hilly Colombia is done by hand, but the farm I visited had several large pipelines were buckets of coffee can be unloaded and then with the help of gravity and water are transported to a central place. Clever.
Wet processing: In Victoria farm, the production process done by wet processing – in fact the wholke farm runs pretty much on water and electricity is only used if water / gravity can’t do the job. Smart engineeriung that. Below a brief overview of the entire process.
- A few interesting facts I picked up on the tour
- 18% of coffee swims usually due to an insect inside
- 1kg roast coffee needs 110l of water in Victoria farm (water is free, but needs to be cleaned before leaving the plant)
- Coffee is second biggest trade in the world after petroleum
- Coffee is typically sold unroasted
- Annual production & price: 60t per year at Victoria being one of the 562,000 coffee farms in Colombia (with around 800,000tons production country wide). They can sell 1kg at aboud $3. But prices fluctuate a lot and despite reduced output. Below the historical chart in cents per pound of coffee.
Interesting fact – Finn’s drink by far most coffee / capita @ 12kg a year! That’s more than 2x German consumption. Must be the weather.
- Finland – 12kg per capita per year
- Norway – 9.9
- Iceland – 9
- Denmark – 8.7
- Netherlands – 8.4
- Sweden – 8.2
- Switzerland – 7.9
- Belgium – 6.8
- Luxembourg – 6.5
- Canada – 6.2
Minca outdoors: While I do recommend taking a motorbike to the farm, its easy to walk the way down and take in some of the breathtaking views. There was also an ecofarm nearby which was nice to visit.
There are a few waterfalls you can refresh yourself (see Minca map) and practice your jumps if you are up for it.