Want to visit a coffee farm in Colombia? Here’s what you need to know.

Fun fact: I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was nearly 21 years old. 

I didn’t start enjoying coffee, however, until I was around 25.

(If you’re wondering, I started drinking it because it was the only way I had the energy to constantly switch between multiple languages while working at Disneyland Paris. It’s surprisingly exhausting!)

And, when I tried a cup of coffee in Colombia’s coffee region, I finally enjoyed coffee as it should be: simple, black and without any milk, sugar or fancy syrups added. 

When you’re drinking quality coffee, it’s the only way. 

I remember that first cup of coffee I had in Filandia vividly. But what made it even better was that I’d just spent three hours learning about how it was made. 

That Colombian coffee wasn’t just any cup of coffee. It was a story of love, family, community and overcoming adversity. And, knowing all that, it couldn’t not be the best cup of coffee I ever tasted. 

Here’s how to visit a coffee farm in Colombia so you can enjoy an authentic Colombian coffee experience. There are lots of coffee tours near Salento, but I want to let you in on a little secret that not many travellers know… 

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Best coffee farm tour in Colombia

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What you need to know about authentic Colombian coffee

I hate to break it to you but, if you’ve ever had Colombian coffee outside of Colombia, it probably wasn’t the real deal. 

If you’ve had Colombian coffee in Colombia, it may also not have been the greatest cup you’ve sipped on. 

That’s because Colombia exports most of its quality beans. But, as I learned on my coffee farm tour, they often get mixed in with the lower quality stuff. 

That means that most brands selling Colombian coffee outside of Colombia are selling a mix of good and not-so-good beans. It also means that the rejected beans get left behind for locals. 

That’s right – the locals in Colombia rarely get to enjoy their country’s finest produce.

So, I know what you’re wondering now. How can you enjoy a cup of authentic Colombian coffee? 

Well, I’m glad you asked. Because that’s where a Colombian coffee farm tour comes in!

A hand holding coffee beans on a coffee farm in Filandia Quindio Colombia
I had even more fun than I expected learning about coffee in Filandia.

Why visit a coffee farm in Colombia 

By taking a coffee farm tour in the Colombia coffee region, you’ll be able to learn about the entire coffee making process. 

And, at the end, you’ll get to taste some truly authentic Colombian coffee. 

If you love – or even like – coffee, it’s one of the best things you can do in Colombia and will be a unique travel experience you’ll never forget. 

I tried coffee from several types of bean on my coffee farm tour, and I was surprised at how smooth they were. It was nothing like the Colombian coffee I’d tried before!

The only downside of the whole experience was that coffee hasn’t been the same since. 


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The best coffee tour near Salento 

Most people head straight to Salento to learn about Colombian coffee. But hold up… 

Salento is a great place to add to your Colombia itinerary, especially if you want to hike the Cocora Valley. This cute little town is colourful, beautiful and, if you want to try Colombian food, serves up some delicious river trout.

But, if you want a unique coffee farm tour experience, I’d recommend heading just outside of Salento. More specifically, I’d recommend taking a coffee tour in the nearby town of Filandia.

Travel Tip

Love colourful towns? Don’t miss Guatapé! It’s an easy day trip from Medellin.

Salento may be home to the most popular coffee farms in Colombia, but Filandia promises a much less touristy experience

I travelled Colombia solo and, because I was the only person booked on the tour, I had a completely private coffee tour experience. On the popular Salento coffee tours, that’s probably not going to happen.

It’s super easy to get to Filandia from Salento, and the town itself warrants at least a day trip. You can jump on a Jeep Willys from the main square in Salento and be there in about 35 minutes. The journey costs 6,000 COP (around USD $1.60). 

Alternatively, why not stay in Filandia? Selina is a beautiful converted finca in the heart of the countryside, and by far my favourite place I stayed during my Colombia travels.

Selina Quindio in the Colombia coffee region

What to expect on the coffee tour

On my coffee tour in Filandia, I had a one-to-one experience that just couldn’t be beaten… especially as it included a surprise! (More on that in a minute!)

I arrived at my accommodation in Filandia at midday and by 1pm I had booked onto a coffee tour. However, I’d recommend booking as far in advance as you can. 

At 2pm, a red Jeep Willys rocked up at the gate, and I hopped inside my ride.

It was about a 10-15 minute drive to the coffee farm and, throughout the journey, my guide, Jairo, filled me in on what to expect, as well as giving me some information about the area. It was the perfect introduction to the Colombia coffee region!

After winding down some bumpy country roads, we jumped out in front of a cute farm house. Jairo went inside to “prepare the lemonade” and I played with his dog while wondering what that meant. 

It turned out to be a delicious local drink that we would enjoy after the hike.

RELATED READ: An adaptable Cartagena itinerary for foodies.

A few minutes later, we started our tour with an introduction to some of the workers, who were just outside. 

We then spent about two hours on a fairly gentle (but sweaty!) hike past a bamboo forest and through dense, humid jungle before arriving at a double waterfall. 

Hiking to this double waterfall is one of the best things to do in Filandia, but it’s on private land. The fact that Jairo included this with the coffee farm tour was an amazing bonus!

The rest of the time was spent learning about the growing process, comparing ‘good’ and ‘bad’ coffee plants and beans, and seeing it put into action with the machinery on site. 

After the tour, we headed into the Nativa office in town to try some of the different types of beans. And, with my newfound appreciation for the coffee making process, it tasted better than any coffee I’d ever had before.

Taking a tour of a Coffee farm in Colombia
My guide, Jairo, was amazingly knowledgeable, patient and happy to answer my (many!) questions.

Where to enjoy authentic Colombian coffee

The coffee farm I visited in Filandia has struggled in recent years because of unreliable overseas buyers. Many of the coffee farms in Colombia have. 

By selling exclusively overseas, their orders – and therefore profits – have been unstable as demand fluctuates. 

That’s why Nativa decided to change things up.

Nativa coffee farm now sells its finest beans to three local coffee shops in Filandia. This benefits the farmers because they have a much more predictable income, while the  coffee shops benefit from the reliable supply chain.

And, in turn, the locals – and tourists! – benefit because they can easily enjoy a cup of high quality Colombian coffee. Plus, it’s much more eco-friendly!

If you want to enjoy some authentic Colombian coffee in the eje cafetero, I recommend contacting Nativa Cafe for recommendations.

I don’t want to list any particular coffee shops here in case they change, but they will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

A coffee bean plant at Nativa coffee farm in Colombia

How to book your coffee tour 

You can book a coffee farm tour by contacting Nativa Cafe y Turismo before you arrive or once you’re already in town. 

You can contact them via their website or their Facebook page, or – like I did – send them a message via Whatsapp. Whatsapp is definitely the preferred way to organise things in Colombia! Their Whatsapp number is +57 322 4486146.

There are other tour companies, too, but Nativa are hard to beat for their sustainable tourism policies and the unique experience of hiking to the double waterfall on the tour!

READ NEXT: 31 things to know before visiting Colombia.

Some fun facts about Colombian coffee 

If you’re still unsure about visiting a coffee farm in Colombia, here are some facts about Colombian coffee that might convince you!

  • Colombia produces around 11.5 million bags of coffee per year. That’s more than one bag of coffee for every person in London. 
  • Colombia is the number one producer of arabica coffee in the world. 
  • For coffee production in general, Colombia is the third largest producer worldwide, after Brazil and Vietnam. 
  • Over 25% of Colombia’s rural population depends on coffee production for their income. 

The coffee making process in Colombia

Why is Colombia coffee so good?

Whether you love Colombian coffee does, ultimately, come down to personal taste. But I’m yet to find someone who doesn’t think authentic Colombian coffee is incredible. 

Colombia sits right in the heart of the coffee belt (the area of the world where coffee beans can grow).

With the ideal combination of rich soil, rainfall elevation, Colombia is perfectly positioned to grow great coffee – and it does! 

READ NEXT: 9 Things to avoid in Colombia.

Is Colombian coffee the best?

I’ll be honest here… I wasn’t particularly keen on Colombian coffee before visiting Colombia. It’s crazy to think about it now, but I almost didn’t visit a coffee farm in Colombia because of it! 

Once I took the coffee farm tour, of course, I learned why I hadn’t been a huge fan. 

When you drink Colombian coffee the way it’s supposed to be drunk, it’s incredible. It’s a smooth and sweet treat for the tastebuds. 

If you’re not yet sold on Colombian coffee, I’d urge you to seek out the most authentic Colombian coffee you can. And, if possible, visit a coffee farm in Colombia!

Authentic Colombian coffee in Filandia

How much does coffee cost in Colombia?

Coffee in Colombia is much more affordable than in many other countries – which shouldn’t be surprising, given that it’s grown locally!

Generally speaking, a cup of coffee in Colombia will cost around 3,500-4,000 COP (less than USD $1). 

Most coffee shops in Colombia sell what is known locally as ‘tinto’, a watered down coffee made from the lower quality beans. Its price reflects this, with a cup usually costing around 500 COP (about USD $0.13). 

More and more coffee shops in Colombia are beginning to sell boutique coffee. The pricier establishments – which often support social initiatives in the local area – can charge closer to 11,000 COP per cup (about USD $3). 

When you’re planning your trip to Colombia, I’d recommend trying to visit coffee shops at both ends of the spectrum.

Even in the more upmarket places, you can expect to get more than you would for your money in the USA or Europe.

Plus, you’re often supporting a good cause and drinking better quality coffee while you do it. And what could be better than that?