Postcard from... Colombia

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Tiana is put to work collecting the coffee beans

Here, 10-year-old Tiana Baldeo tells us all about what she learnt on visiting a coffee farm in Colombia.

Long ago in a town called Cafe in Ethiopia, there was a shepherd called Kaldi who had some goats. One day these goats ate some coffee beans and went crazy – Kaldi got worried so he took some beans to a priest. 

The priest said the beans were cursed so Kaldi threw them in a fire. He then smelled something really nice from the fire, so decided to try eating the roasted coffee beans. The beans were not nice, so he tried grinding them and adding water to make a drink. Kaldi liked the drink, and this is how coffee was invented. The name – cafe (coffee) – came from the town where he found the beans.

Did you know that coffee is the third most drunk beverage in the world after water and tea? Brazil produces 60 million kilograms of coffee a year, Vietnam produces 28 million kilograms and Colombia produces 14 million kilograms . 

When my family and I were in Colombia, we went to a coffee farm and learned the process of making coffee, from growing it to pouring it!

First a seed is planted and a year and half later the coffee bush will be fully grown. A white flower grows on the bush, and only lives for three days. After the flower dies, coffee fruits start to grow. When the fruits are yellow or red they can be picked. One picker picks around 80-150 kilograms of fruit a day. 

After the coffee fruit has been picked it's put into a machine that splits the peel from the bean. Then the beans are soaked in water to clean them and also to sort the bad beans from the good. If the beans are dried in a machine it takes one to five days, but if they are dried in the sun, it takes one to five weeks. After the drying process, the beans are put into a three layered sieve. 

Next, the beans are roasted in a special machine. It takes four to seven minutes for the beans to dehydrate and then a further five minutes for them to fully roast. When the beans are fully roasted they start to pop like popcorn!

After the roasting process, the beans are ground into powder or sold whole.

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Coffee might not be Tiana's cup of tea but at least now she knows how it is made!

Did you know for an average cup of coffee you need around  25-30 beans. At the end of our tour we got to try some coffee. My brother and I shared a cup, and I thought it was disgusting….but maybe I will like it when I’m older!

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