Tag Archives: Juan Valdez

What is the Secret of Colombia’s Happiness?

“Why do you love coffee?”

I was in one of Bogota best specialty coffee shops, Amor Perfecto, with a tour group. Light came streaming in the café on that sunny Bogota morning, and the intoxicating smell of freshly ground coffee made us all a bit dizzy.

Over the sounds of coffee cups clinking against saucers and the typical chatter of a busy cafe, the tour guests crowded in to catch the barista’s answer to my question.  The barista thought for a few seconds before answering, and then…what an answer he gave!

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Juan Valdez Coffee Shop gets a New Image

Need a place to linger over a cup of coffee? The Juan Valdez coffee shop on Carrera 9, just next to the JW Marriott hotel, sits under leafy trees and has one of the largest outdoor seating areas of any coffee shop in the city.

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Foodie Hub’s Guide to Colombian Coffee and Coffeehouses in Bogota

 

Around the world, coffeehouses have been important meeting places for centuries, and Bogota is no exception. Walk around this South American city and you’ll find busy coffee shops and bakeries at any time of day; walk by a Juan Valdez coffeehouse in the morning and you’ll see people doing business over a hot cup of coffee, and in the afternoon you’ll notice whole families gathered at bakeries to leisurely enjoy coffee and snacks during what they call onces, the Colombian version of tea time.

Over the last few years a new wave of coffeehouses has flooded Bogota. In addition to the Juan Valdez stores on nearly every corner of the city, more and more independent coffee shops are opening up, each one offering an in-depth look into coffee farms and farmers as well as the regions where coffee is grown. All of this adds up to tasting experiences you won’t get anywhere else.

Why is Colombian coffee in such demand?

Coffee is grown in Colombia on hundreds of thousands of small family owned farms. Unlike Robusta beans, Arabica beans (the only ones found in Colombia) are grown at high altitudes. Mountainous terrain means that beans are picked in a very labor intensive way (by hand, since machines are useless on those hills) and are often transported off the farm by mule or jeep. This hand picking means just the ripest, deep red cherries – not the green ones, not the slightly pink ones – are chosen. The beans are then sent off to get processed and roasted; freshly roasted coffee should be consumed as quickly as possible to preserve the characteristics of the bean. Of course, all of these factors increase the cost – but they also increase the quality.

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CNN Insider Guide to Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia, often called the Athens of South America, has plenty to offer both business travelers and tourists. And when I talked with the editor at CNN about what kind of article he wanted about the city, he generously gave me guidance.

I thought that people should have access to an overall idea of what to see, eat and do when visiting the city, a mini insider guide to Bogota. The editor at CNN thought that would be a good idea, too, and I set off to research the article.

The result was the CNN’s Insider Guide to Bogota, an overview of my footwork around Bogota to find the best places to stay, eat, and have a good time. I hope you enjoy it!